Rescue mission prepares for winter homeless

Rescue mission prepares for winter homeless
As the holiday season approaches, so do the cooler temperatures, and that cold weather means more visitors to East Texas homeless shelters. (Source: KLTV)

LONGVIEW, Texas (KLTV) - As the holiday season approaches, so do the cooler temperatures, and that cold weather means more visitors to East Texas homeless shelters.

With temperatures getting into the 30's already on a couple of October nights, Highway 80 Rescue Mission is preparing to care for more people in need.

“We have so many people that find themselves down on their luck, not knowing where do I go, where do I reach out for help? And we’re here day and night. Get their needs met spiritually, physically and emotionally. We’re having close to two-dozen men sleeping on mats in our lobby every single night,” says mission case manager Jonathan Alford.

When you’re serving between 600 and 700 meals a day, it goes fast.

That’s three times a day, seven days a week.

And with Thanksgiving and the Christmas holidays on the way, the mission will be helping much more than those who reside at the shelter.

“We’re always in need of non-perishable foods and one thing that slips through the cracks is donating meat. Financial support, because we’re able to cut better deals with suppliers. We’re expecting on Thanksgiving alone, hoping for around 1500 people that we’ll feed, and we’ll have our Christmas tree sign-up,” Alford says.

And they expect a long-standing trend to continue.

“Every single week for the past 10 years, we’ve had five new people walk in here that have never been homeless before. Once you do the math on that, that’s hundreds, thousands of people. If you don’t have a strong system you can fall back on, where do you go? And that’s where the Highway 80 Rescue Mission comes in,” says Jonathan.

Winter clothing, blankets, and food donations can be made at the missions’ locations in Tyler and Longview.

‘House of Hope’ women’s shelter in Longview, which is not affiliated with Highway 80 Rescue Mission, is also accepting donations.

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