The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Carthage, Jasper County

November 20, 2007

Carthage Crisis Center plans volunteer days

By Susan Redden

CARTHAGE, Mo. — Rooms are taking shape in a project that will allow the Carthage Crisis Center to move into larger quarters.

More than 200 people have helped so far, and volunteers are being sought for work days on Friday and Saturday.

“We’re anxious to get farther along. We’re having to turn people away because of lack of space,” said Brian Bisbee, executive director of the homeless shelter.

Hired workers and volunteers are renovating the former Leggett & Platt Inc. national research building as a new headquarters for the center. The donated building will allow the operation to move from a 3,100-square-foot former filling station to a 42,000-square-foot building at 100 S. Main St.

Supporters hope the new building can be complete by Easter, and it can’t come too soon, Bisbee said.

He said the center has had to turn away people who need help because the 16-bed shelter at 420 Lyon St. is full.

The new center will have room to house 15 men and eight women. There also will be space to accommodate five families, and seven men and four women who are in transition to independence, plus room for staff members.

“In all, we’ll have room for about 55 people,” Bisbee said.

Volunteers have been working Mondays through Fridays and some weekends to frame out rooms, install insulation and drywall, tear out other walls, and do cleanup.

“We’ve had lots of church groups, youth groups, businesses and individuals helping,” Bisbee said Tuesday. “We’ve even got a group of kids coming in today who’ll be helping.”

Residents from the center also are working there, including Frank Gaultney, formerly of Poplar Bluff, who is staying at the Crisis Center under a new initiative to serve homeless veterans.

While most of the center’s services go to Carthage area residents, Bisbee said his board has developed a policy to offer services to homeless military veterans from throughout the area. The center is working with coordinators for the homeless at Veterans Affairs hospitals in Kansas City and Fayetteville, Ark.

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Carthage, Jasper County