Volunteers plan clean up ex-homeless camp in north Springfield

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- A group of volunteers are working to clean up an ex-homeless camp in north Springfield, one year after it was shut down.

A local nonprofit realized the property was still a mess at Kearney and Glenstone. Freeway Ministries is organizing the effort to clean up the several acres of woods that served as a home for many homeless people, including some of their own. Freeway Ministries works with people who been convicted of crimes, addicted to drugs, and many who have been homeless, reaching them with the gospel. They, along with other community volunteers, will be doing the hard work of cleaning up the trash left here through the years.

The city evacuated the area and provided many resources for the people who were living in this homeless camp last June. But the city and the owner of the land are still in a legal battle over who should pay for clean up.

Many businesses have made donations such as dumpsters and hauling away tires and cars. All of the labor here on Saturday will be volunteer.

"All these people are ex-addicts, criminals, some of them may have been homeless, but all of them are full-time employed, they're paying taxes, they're drug and alcohol free," said John Stroup, Freeway Ministries director and co-founder. " And they're going to come and give back."

The group expects 150 volunteers from the ministry and the community. The cleanup is planned for this Saturday from 8 a.m. until noon. Volunteers can sign up on the Freeway Ministries Facebook page or just show up. They will provide breakfast and lunch and most of the materials needed. Teenagers and up are welcome. The group asks you to wear good shoes for working in the woods.