Region 8 shelters preparing for cold months ahead

By Lauren Payne - bio | email feedback

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) -  "We were able to purchase ten cots to turn our dining room into an emergency shelter for the evening," said Captain Mark Boatman, at the Salvation Army.

Cots are just part of the preparations by Captain Boatman and the Salvation Army to get winter ready.

"We're getting to the point where we're getting to capacity in our regular shelter at this time," said Boatman.

Bone chilling temperatures Monday prompted Captain Boatman to leave the shelter open all day for people needing a warm place to go.  He adds they're prepared to feed more than normal if needed.

"We usually prepare to feed 30 to 40 a night anyway, so if we have more come in, we'll just make more food," said Boatman.

"It's an obstacle, it's a barrier," said Jamie Collins.

Jamie Collins is the Executive Director for  Mission Outreach.  She says requests for services are up due to the economy--and cold temps compound problems, especially for those looking for work on foot.

"You can't walk very far with the wind chill factor like it is.   So it really stops you being able to quickly get them into the services they need, into employment," said Collins.

Collins says they've seen a 16 percent increase in the last 30 days of people just eating a meal at Mission Outreach. She says for those struggling to get by, a free meal could help them manage.

"That may be as simple as I need to eat my meals at the soup kitchen at Mission Outreach and that's going to save me enough that I can pay my utility bill when it comes up," said Collins.

Back at the Salvation Army, Captain Boatman says they'll make needed adjustments to help those in need this winter.

"More than likely the numbers will remain high through probably March,"said Captain Boatman.

If you would like to donate to Mission Outreach, contact them at 870-236-8080.  If you would like to donate to the Salvation Army, contact them at 870-932-3785

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