ASHEVILLE, N.C. — Ginger Hicks takes pride in volunteering at an emergency Code Purple shelter. 

What You Need To Know

  • An organization in Asheville needs more volunteers to help with Code Purple nights

  • Those are nights when the temperature or wind chill is less than 32 degrees, prompting emergency shelters to open

  • Asheville Buncombe County Christian Ministry needs 50-100 volunteers to help with Code Purple nights 

“I think a lot of us have had very fortunate lives, and so it’s a great way to give back to those that have struggled during their lives,” Hicks said. 

She started volunteering three years ago and says the work is rewarding, and connecting with other volunteers keeps her coming back.

“For those of us that are retired, I think we miss that professional camaraderie, and so that’s one of the good things here too. You have a host of other volunteers to interact with,” Hicks said.

She’s the Code Purple Coordinator at Transformation Village, which is run by Asheville Buncombe Community Christian Ministry. Her job at the emergency Code Purple shelter is to make sure everything runs smoothly for the women and children who enter this shelter on the city’s coldest nights.

Last year more than 157 women entered their doors on Code Purple nights, and right now, they’re in need of 50-100 volunteers to help the shelter.

“We need volunteers to help with intake, with driving our vans, transporting people back and forth to the bus stop. We need folks to work from 8 p.m. to midnight, just supervising our Code Purple guests,” Hicks said. “There’s a lot of opportunities, whatever people like to do, there’s plenty of opportunities for them to volunteer.” 

Code Purple nights require six to eight volunteers every night and ideally, the work can be spread out evenly.

“We want our volunteers to enjoy it and not be overwhelmed or overworked,” Hicks said.

The goal is to keep people off the freezing streets.

“There are other shelters that they can go to during the day, but on the nights where it’s really really cold, we basically have this shelter set up to save people’s lives,” Hicks said.