On Thursday, Stan Edwards was preparing for a big weekend ahead.
“There will be no standing around,” he said of his work.
Edwards is the head of the kitchen at the Men’s Shelter of Charlotte. The shelter is already at maximum capacity, and when volunteer groups do not bring donated meals, Edwards feeds them all. Now, he’s preparing for severe weather.
“If we have to stay here and maintain the shelter, then that’s what we’ll do,” he said.
Across Charlotte, empty shelves and packed grocery stores indicate that many are starting to prepare their homes prior to Hurricane Irma coming through the Carolinas. But the men’s shelter knows - there are hundreds across the city with no place to go.
“And that’s what we’re here for,” shelter organizer Randall Hitt said.
It is just one local shelter preparing to exceed its normal capacity in the coming days.
Exceeding capacity there could mean up to 500 men to house and feed throughout the storm.
“We can kind of collectively put our arms open and our doors open for them to find safety,” Hitt said.
Many will sleep on extra mats in any available space across the facility, and the kitchen will stock up on supplies to feed them all.