The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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January 6, 2014

Homeless shelters, warming centers provide relief

Hutch Baker and Brad Keyser, both of Galena, Kan., found a sunny corner at College Station Daylight Donuts and Coffee in Joplin.

It was a spot where it might be easy to forget how cold it was outside.

They were drinking coffee and eating pastries, and said they were taking a coffee break from interior work on four-plexes at Zora Street and Duquesne Road.

Baker said they have visited the coffee shop on occasion, but on Monday they were there because the pipes had burst at the convenience store where they typically get coffee and doughnuts. He said he was glad they came.

“Most people don’t understand the severity of the cold,” Baker said.

He said he felt the brunt of it outside a store around 5 p.m. Sunday.

“It was on a hill, and that wind was whipping,” Baker said.

“It is the wind that does the damage,” Keyser said.

Keyser said it was good to be working inside on Monday, because they wouldn’t have been able to work outside.

Some others have more desperate circumstances. Kevin Perez said that until recently, he was staying outside in a tent and sleeping in a sleeping bag. He said he took shelter Sunday at Watered Gardens Gospel Rescue Mission. Monday morning, he was at the Salvation Army.

“If it hadn’t been for Watered Gardens last night, probably several would have perished,” Perez said.

Terri Howard, of Pittsburg, Kan., was among several people keeping warm at Watered Gardens on Monday. Howard said she is disabled, and she has moved between the Salvation Army and Watered Gardens.

She said she also had lived in California, where there is a larger homeless population and more shelter space.

Billy Flynn for a time on Monday afternoon was the lone person taking advantage of the Red Cross warming center at Fourth Street and Jackson Avenue. He said he had been working framing houses the past few days to earn the money to go home to California. The bus station was to open at 9 p.m. for his 9:30 p.m. bus.

Sean Hicks was in line for lunch at the Salvation Army. Chili was being served to around 60 people who were there. He said he had spent the night Sunday at Watered Gardens.

He said he wears several layers of clothes and stays active when he’s outside.

“If you sit still too long, it catches up with you,” Hicks said about the bone-chilling cold.

“Yesterday afternoon, I found some work with a shovel” digging a woman’s stuck car out of the snow.

Peggy Texter is no stranger to cold weather. Colorado is her home.

“I’m used to it,” she said. “I don’t like it. I don’t imagine anybody does.”

She was enjoying her bowl of chili and coffee at the Salvation Army.

“I don’t know what I’d do without it,” she said of the meal. “The coffee really warms you up.”

She said she was staying with a friend while in Joplin. She said she didn’t go outside at all on Sunday.

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