Salvation Army holds Sunday warming center for homeless

The Salvation Army holds a warming center on Sundays, filling a gap of options available for the homeless.

Posted: Jan 20, 2019 9:08 PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) In extremely cold temperatures, staying warm can be a challenge for the homeless. While there are warming centers for the homeless in our community to use, many of them aren’t open on a Sunday.

"This was Sunday you know this is the only place that is open," John Laxson, homeless, said.

Three years ago, The Salvation Army stepped up to fill an important gap, providing a place to go on Sundays for those without shelter.

"People couldn’t ride the buses they could not have stores to go into," Major Abe Tamayo, Salvation Army said. "We opened our doors, people came in and we had partners provide meals and those types of things."

For the homeless in our community, they tell us shelter is a need that never ends.

"There’s a need for 24/7 shelter," Pamma Williams, a homeless individual said. "There’s a need for warmth all the time regardless of whether its winter."

This warming center isn't run by the salvation army alone,

"Fantastic volunteers come in and help," Tamayo said. 

Bernice Price is one of those volunteers. Price said volunteering is her way of paying it forward.

"It all started years ago when I was homeless," Price said. "I stayed over in the Booth Center, I decided to help out as much as I could."

As someone who's been homeless herself, Price said the opportunity to help others is rewarding.

"I feel really good about it," Price said. "I don’t mind volunteering and helping out people that are in the way that I was in several years ago."

The homeless say the warming center isn’t just a place to escape the cold, it’s also a place where people can get on the path out of homelessness.

"There’s a lot of help here," Laxson said. "I mean if you utilize it, you don’t have to be homeless very long."

The salvation army says it just another way they reach out to those in need.

"It's just a place of acceptance and warmth," Tamayo said.

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Saint Joseph
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Temperatures start off in the 40s Monday morning with a chance for some scattered rain showers and possibly a few snowflakes. Once we get past rush hour a cold front will push though and start to drop our temperatures and increasing wind speeds. Because of this, our highs will only be in the 20s tomorrow and wind gusts out of the north will be between 15-20mph. After Monday we will gradually warm back up to highs in the 40s for the rest of the week.
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