The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

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December 6, 2013

Cold places more demand on area homeless shelters

Local shelters expected increased demand on Friday, with overnight temperatures expected near zero and the lingering snow.

Overnight temperatures in the teens are forecast for the rest of the weekend.

Shelter operators said they began to experience the demand when the snow began falling Thursday.

“We still have some beds, but it is filling up,” said Georgia Jones, director of Souls Harbor Mission downtown at 915 S. Main St. She said people started arriving Thursday afternoon.

“We also have a day room where people can come in from the weather,” Jones said.

Jones said the shelter continues to have needs.

“We don’t have coats,” she said. “We’re doing our best to dig up coats for people.”

She said people who use the shelter who work outside in the cold have an additional need.

“Our supplies of thermal underwear are really low,” she said. She added that larger sizes are most needed.

Canned foods and money donations are always welcome, she said.

James Whitford, executive director of Watered Gardens Gospel Rescue Mission, 531 S. Kentucky Ave., said its expansion with a 10-bed women’s shelter opened Thanksgiving Day. Two of the beds were available on Friday. The men’s shelter was full and there were five on a waiting list.

Whitford said the demand never stops, but it increases during the cold weather.

“We will not be able to help everyone,” Whitford said.

He said the shelter also needs coats, hats, blankets and hand-warmers. Money donations also were welcome.

At the Joplin Salvation Army, 320 E. Eighth St., Lt. Jamie Curry said the gym and the lobby were to remain open until the building closed at 8 p.m. Friday. He said the building would reopen at 8 a.m. today, but it doesn’t have the capacity to house people overnight.

“We are a little concerned for some of our people,” Curry said.

As for needs, Curry said people may contribute money to the red kettles of the Salvation Army’s bell-ringers.

“The other thing we actually need is hams for our Christmas food baskets,” Curry said. “We have more than 900 families this year.”

Warming centers

Nigel Holderby, regional communication officer with the American Red Cross, on Friday said there had been no decision to open any warming centers in the Joplin area.

“We are prepared if they are needed,” Holderby said.


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