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Salvation Army and St. Mary’s offering shelter options

by Marvin Richards | February 16, 2021 at 8:30 p.m.

With temperatures hovering around 25 degrees during the warmest part of the day, snow on the ground and forecasters projecting more inclement weather in the coming days, the search for local help and shelter for the homeless is high.

St. Mary’s Episcopal Church will be offering day shelter from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. through Thursday at least according to church rector, Robert Wetherington.

“We will have water, coffee, and a few snacks for those who come,” Wetherington said.

Capt. Jason Perdieu of the Salvation Army did confirm for the News-Times that the organization’s shelter is open and welcoming those that need protection from the frigid temperatures, though he noted a few hurdles the organization has had to overcome to render these services.

“We’re struggling because a lot of our staff is not able to get in,” Perdieu explained. “We’re still maintaining our shelter service and we’re serving as warming shelter for people to come in and get out of the cold.”

Another challenge the organization faces is overcoming the fears some have of coming to a shelter with the still ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our shelter numbers are actually low. I was anticipating more people,” Perdieu said. “But what we’ve learned is that during this pandemic, a lot of people are hesitant to go to shelters because they don’t want to be around people they don’t know, or where they’ve been or been exposed to. So the shelter’s numbers have really declined during this pandemic.”

Though faced with a few challenges, Perdieu said the Salvation Army will do what it needs to, to continue serving those in need.

“People still need to be served, people still need to be taken care of. We just got to find ways,” Perdieu said. “We’ve learned ways to be creative during this pandemic and we will continue to do as best as we can.”

Perdieu encourages anyone who needs more information or assistance during these harsh conditions to call the Salvation Army at 870-863-4830.

“If you’re in need of shelter, if you’re in need of help, come on up. We don’t want to see anybody out in these kinds of frigid temperatures. Stay safe, be warm and be careful,” he concluded.

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