By Greg Grisolano
While hundreds of Joplin residents are eagerly waiting for power to be restored so they can return to their homes, others without homes to go to are making due at area shelters.
Classie Barber and Jay Tysver said they have been spending their days keeping warm at City of Refuge, a faith-based shelter for area homeless in Joplin, but have been sleeping in their tent under a railroad bridge at night.
“We usually come in in the morning and stay until just before we want to go to bed,” Barber said.
Barber, a diabetic on disability, said she has been volunteering in the pantry during the day to help out.
“Right now, the Refuge is a great help keeping us warm and fed,” she said. “If we weren’t here, we’d be freezing. We probably wouldn’t make it.”
Tysver said the city isn’t allowing the couple to build a campfire at night, so they turn on a small hunting stove right before bed and right after they wake up to heat the tent.
More than 40 people have been staying overnight at City of Refuge, a Christian ministry and shelter, at 502 E. Seventh St., according to the group’s senior pastor, Dan Anderson.
“Our intention here is to house a hundred people, if need be, or more,” Anderson said. “We do it completely faith-based. We operate completely off of donations.”
Anderson said several people who were without power at their homes donated food from freezers, and staff members and some of the residents are helping to prepare daily meals for about 150 families in Joplin.
“It’s probably doubled the number of people normally coming through,” Anderson said of the ice storm
Mattresses and blankets are spread out in the building, which used to be a cold-storage warehouse. Many are sleeping in a converted loading dock or on the floor of the building’s sanctuary, the only part that has heat.
The biggest problem facing many of the residents, Anderson said, is the spread of colds.
“There’s a lot of coughs and colds,” he said. “We try to provide medications as we can and assist people with prescriptions.”
Anderson said he’s hoping people will donate some kerosene-powered space heaters or a variety of other items, including winter clothing, sleeping bags and blankets.
“There’s a constant demand,” he said, adding that sleeping bags and socks are a high priority. “We’re grateful to everybody that’s donated items. Anything and everything is accepted.”
Barber said she knows several homeless people whose tents were damaged by falling limbs.
“There’s probably about 20 separate camps up and down the rail,” she said. “A lot of them got squished like a bug.”
Tysver said that with the aid of some good sleeping bags, he’s prepared to make it through the winter.
“I’m from Wisconsin originally,” he said. “This is nothing compared to back home.”
24/7 coffee pot
“We keep the place open all day and the coffee pot on 24 hours a day, seven days a week,” said Dan Anderson, City of Refuge senior pastor.
By Greg Grisolano
- Joplin Metro
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