(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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