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FORT WORTH -- The deep freeze has settled in, and so have 658 souls, seeking safety at the Presbyterian Night Shelter in Fort Worth.

'We are at capacity,' said CEO Toby Owen. 'Last time we were completely full was in February 2011, during the Super Bowl.'

That was the last time a major ice storm hit. But it didn't have quite the timing this one did.

Friday night was to be Presbyterian Night Shelter's annual Christmas Gala, a black tie fundraiser at the Fort Worth Club, which brings in $320,000 that is desperately needed right now.

But impassable roads led Owen to make the call to cancel.

'It really puts us in a bad spot,' he said.

But the clients got the better end of the bad deal.

'This is quail wrapped in bacon,' said Stephanie Roofner, pointing at her plate, 'and then we had a filet mignon steak.'

Roofner is a resident of Presbyterian Night Shelter. So is Willie Smith.

'We had chocolate cake, mashed potatoes, a crescent roll,' he added.

When the shelter canceled the gala, the food was already prepared, so clients got a gourmet treat.

'This is wonderful, absolutely marvelous,' said a client named Karen. 'I'm sorry about your fundraiser, but I'm glad!'

Owen is hoping people hear their story and go to their website to donate. You can give at this link.

'We desperately need the financial support that would have come through this event,' he said. 'We work with two-day-old babies. We work with 80-year-old men. Across the gamut of our society is who you see at this shelter.

'We will not have another fundraiser. This is it,' he said.

So now a shelter that gives so much is hoping others give, too.

E-mail twoodard@wfaa.com

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