DALLAS — The temperature is below freezing.
The roads are slick.
John Little and Kelly Crawford are walking the streets of Deep Ellum.
The bars lining the street of the popular Dallas nightlife destinations are closed. The restaurants are too. There's a thick, hard layer of white covering the sidewalk.
"Can I just see your face to make sure you're okay?"
Crawford is hunched over a body-shaped blanket crowded into the corner of the entrance to a building.
Little walks up to join her.
"You're shivering," Little said. "Come on. Let's go."
After about a minute, a face emerges from the blanket. The man under the blanket tells the pair he had tried to get into a shelter. He mumbles some more words.
He eventually asks if they have coffee.
"Yes, they'll have coffee there," Little assures him.
The man wraps his blanket around him and lets Little and Crawford help him get settled in the back of their SUV.
Little and Crawford are one of four teams from OurCalling, a Dallas-based homeless ministry, that's been driving through Dallas looking for people to bring back to shelter at the Automobile Building in Fair Park. To be clear, the group does this sort of outreach year round. However, with temperatures below freezing and postured to drop even further, their mission is even more urgent.
"We really try to emphasize that it's life or death," Crawford said. "It's always life or death in the streets, but especially in this weather."
From Wednesday to Thursday afternoon, Crawford said they've received 50 to 75 reports through the OurCalling app. Typically, she said they'd receive about four or five in one day.
"People report themselves and then average civilians see people and report that way as well," Crawford said.
The app allows users to share the location for a camp or individual that may need assistance. In addition to responding to reports, the crews also just drive around and look for people who need help.
The crew picks up two more people after rescuing the man from Deep Ellum.
One of those people approached them after leaving a large encampment less than a mile from the shelter.
The other person told Crawford he'd been able to get a motel room Wednesday night but ran out of money. He'd taken shelter under a covered sidewalk and was wrapped in a pink sleeping bag.
"People run out of heat and propane," Crawford said. "They run out of money for hotels."
She said it's typical for people to start accepting assistance on the second day of a storm like this one after denying it on night one. Even so, she said they were told "no" about 30 times Thursday.
"They think they’re okay," Crawford said. "A lot of people drive around and give them things. They give them blankets. They give them heaters. They give them things so they think they’re good. A lot of people don’t like being around large groups. They might have PTSD or trauma associated.”
Crawford admitted that it's hard to leave people, but she knows they can't force them. The teams will just circle back later and see if positions have changed.
"They can come any time over the next few days as long as it’s below freezing," Crawford said.
With the three people they've found, Little and Crawford's vehicle is full. Another OurCalling van is called in. Both start the slow, icy drive back to Fair Park. On the way, they see a man huddled in a sleeping bag next a smalls shopping center.
John Little gets out.
"Dude, it's only going to get colder tonight," he said.
It's uncomfortable cold. His tone is warm.
"We'll pick you up. We'll get you in there. Whatever it takes. Alright, brother?"
It takes a few minutes, but Little and other OurCalling team member lift the man from where he was lying and help him in to the van that came to make more room.
"His sleeping bag was frozen to the ground," Little told WFAA, once they'd returned to the shelter. "His shoe laces were frozen. His shoes were frozen. His socks were frozen to his feet. He just had a toe amputated not too long ago, so he's having a hard time just walking right now. He couldn't have made it here if he wanted to."
And that's the point. Seeking and seeing, so they can serve the people who need it most.
It's their calling.