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Springfield cold weather shelters still in need of volunteers before they’re available to open Nov. 1

Published: Oct. 27, 2020 at 8:29 PM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) -Emergency cold weather shelters are preparing to open up as early as next week if temperatures fall to dangerous levels.

The shelters typically open between Nov. 1 and March 31.

“It’s going to be a cold winter and we’re concerned that with COVID-19 there’s more men that may be needing places to have a warm place right now," said Karen Mizell, shelter coordinator at East Sunshine Church of Christ.

Mizell said finding volunteers to serve at the men’s cold weather shelter has been tough this year.

”Many of our volunteers from years past are older or they’re caring for mothers or caring for sisters that are older and didn’t feel like they could work this year so we’ve really had to recruit," she said.

Mizell would like to have about eight more men sign up to help the homeless before the shelter is available to open up Nov. 1.

″They would arrive like at 7:30 p.m. and they would help check in our guests for the night and they can sleep part of that night and then usually they could finish their shift at about 7 in the morning," she said.

The shelter is taking safety precautions to keep its guests safe this year. For that reason, it will not be able to provide food for the men, but it will have a hot drink available for them.

”They will have to be distanced, our cots are going to be six feet apart and they can not move the cots this year, and they love to gather and play games and visit with each other, but this year they’ll have to be masked at all times and not move their cots," Mizell said.

Though the shelter can only serve half of the men it typically would, Mizell said she hopes all 50 men they can help will still feel the same sense of community as they always have.

”I think they’ll know that we love them and want to have them here, even if we have to be distanced in our relationships," she said.

The women’s cold weather shelter at Grace United Methodist Church is also looking for volunteers. City utilities will again be working with both shelters to bus people to-and-from both shelters.

Mizel said because the shelter can only serve 50 men, there is also a need for more cold weather shelters in Springfield. While some churches have inquired with her already, she said none have committed to providing a shelter yet.

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