When the weather turns freezing cold, we’re advised to stay indoors as much as possible. But what happens to those without homes to stay warm in?
That concern is what led Teka Childress to found St. Louis Winter Outreach nine years ago. On nights when the temperature reaches below twenty degrees, volunteers with the St. Louis Winter Outreach go out in search of the homeless and offer them rides to shelters.
“It’s been just terrifying for people who are out there, exhausting...I’m just glad that so many people are chipping in and helping to get people to safety,” Childress said.
“We still find people who are outside, people who are under bridges...even yesterday in the terrible snow, we found some people in a tent encampment...and coaxed them in,” she added.
According to Childress, there are around 300 people who have been staying in the St. Louis Winter Outreach shelters and the New Life Evangelistic Center the past few months, but there are many more who don’t stay in shelters.
But when the weather turns as cold as it is now, the percentage of people who don’t want to get to shelter is very small, Childress said.
In addition to searching the city for people out in the elements, volunteers with the Outreach drive shuttle buses and help at shelters.
Because of the extreme temperatures, no new volunteers will join the search tonight, but if people would like to get involved they can call MoKaBe’s Coffeehouse at 314-865-2009 or join the organization’s listserv.