GASTON COUNTY, N.C. -- A daytime homeless shelter in Gaston County is closing down because of a major drop in donations. The As One Ministries shelter facility has 328 active clients providing showers for around 45 people and serving lunch to between 40 and 80 people each day, including Melissa Cope, who's been coming here for six years.
"It's heartbreaking," Cope said.
Angela Dreher is the Executive Director, who says since the shelter opened back in November 2003, there have always been financial struggles. Last year they saw a $27,000 drop in donations and as of this month they're at a $30,000 drop.
"We're family," Dreher said. "I just had to make a decision."
The shelter does house as many as 70 people overnight during the winter depending on how cold it is and how much it's snowing.
Cope was sleeping on the concrete outside the building when we arrived on Wednesday. Come this winter, it may be her only option because Dreher says if the shelter were to ever open back up, it would be at least three to six months from now.
"I have no clue where I'd go," Cope said. "I really have no clue, because there is nothing else."
Without the funds to pay her electric bill, Dreher says she expects the power to be shut off at any moment, but as long as the lights are still turning on she'll keep serving the homeless people who show up.