ST. LOUIS — City agencies and good Samaritans are helping the homeless find shelter as temperatures drop to bitterly cold levels throughout the St. Louis area.

Jason Coker, of south St. Louis County, gives out necessities like clothes, shoes, toiletries, and socks every Wednesday to those in need. His deeds are much appreciated, especially on a cold night like tonight.

He said a warming bus near 13th street and Chestnut will transport people to nearby shelters.

“They’re in a big hurry to get down there because they know if they don’t get down there in time they’re going to miss a ride to the shelter which could potentially be the end of their life,” Coker said.

More than 50 men, women, and children packed the bus Wednesday night, many of them escaping the cold after several nights of sleeping outside.

“You see my baby is trembling, and them doing this is the ultimate give back,” said Jenitta, who boarded the bus.

For those who waited in the cold, this was a lifeline.

“We stay warm for the night, at least for the night until they kick us out in the morning,” said Jonathan Johnson. “They normally kick us out in the morning, but they feed us in the evening and, in the morning, that’s a good thing.”

On the bus, the bite of the bitter air melted away as everyone warmed up. It was one of the busiest nights for City of St. Louis employees and volunteers.

“We have roughly 150 beds available tonight across all our different shelters participating. So I think we’ll have a place for everybody tonight,” said Amy Bickford, chief program manager of homeless services for the City of St. Louis.

The warming bus is available to take people to shelters with open beds every night for the rest of the week from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. It’s located across from City Hall.

To get help anytime, call 211.