JOPLIN, Mo. — Between the brutal cold and a holiday weekend, area shelters and churches are keeping busy. Luckily, community teamwork in Joplin has helped keep folks fed and warm.
“On Thursday morning, everyone was here. And it’s just increased since then,” said Dianna Gurley, Executive Director of Souls Harbor.
Souls Harbor has teamed up with Joplin First Church of the Nazarene and the nonprofit, Food Not Bombs to provide warmth and food for those in need.
“We have a lot more people in-house and then we have a lot more people in here, and then a lot more people that are coming by because, you know, financially this year, it’s really taking a hit on people. And so, there’s a lot more people reaching out for the help this year,” added Gurley.
During the day, Souls Harbor has been transporting around 100 people to the church — which announced this week it was opening as a “warming center.” In the evening and nights, everyone goes back over to Souls Harbor.
“And then we’ll keep them up into the evening and then Food Not Bombs, once again, will come in and then they’ll take over for the overnight shift, and take care of things. So, it’s been a really hand-in-hand operation with everybody taken care of. It’s been wonderful,” said Gurley.
Pastor Shana Mcgarrah says her husband has spent the last couple of days picking up those in-need off of the streets.
“He went down, he had one of the guys that’s here with us thats from Souls Harbor, he took him around and was showing him where all the people would be, all the homeless people would be. And they went around calling to everybody in the tents and everything, trying to get them to come. And so, bringing them in yesterday,” said McGarrah.
Joplin First Church of the Nazarene says they will stay open on Christmas Day.
“It’s just been really good getting to know them and kind of hearing their stories, and just you know, getting a heart for where they are, and so, that’s been really good,” she added.