Even without shelter, effort to help homeless in Cape Girardeau underway

By Kathy Sweeney - bio | email

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Even without a shelter up and running, Chaplain Terry Wildman says, he can't wait.

As Wildman leads the drive to open the Shelter of Hope on Sprigg Street, he says the effort's already started to get local men, women, and children back on their feet.

"I know what it's like. I know what it is to be out there on that street," Steve Doom said.

Just two months ago, Doom says he made his home under an overpass in Scott City. Now, he says, he's a changed man.

"I can hold my head up again and walk the streets and not feel ashamed to be seen by the public and hide," said Doom.

Doom is one of eight men currently being helped by Chaplain Wildman's Shelter of Hope ministry, even though Wildman's shelter is still a work in progress.

"It's moving forward slowly. We're waiting on some bids from other contractors. We've been promising 45 days, 45 days, but it is moving forward," Wildman said0.

And so is Wildman's operation at 733 Broadway. With the help of other service agencies and volunteers, he's added a soup kitchen in the back of his thrift store.

"We've been serving eight to sixteen people a day in here, just for lunch. And we have actually served over 300 people since we've started here," Wildman said.

Harvey Gaddy also credits Wildman with getting him off the streets, and giving him a renewed sense of purpose.

"It's making me more of a man," Gaddy explained. "It's making me appreciate what I got. Before when I was homeless, I was on the streets. I was hopeless. I didn't have anything to look up to, look forward to."

Now, both Gaddy and Doom look forward to helping Wildman with the shelter, so others in need can experience that change.

"I got food in my stomach, a roof over my head. And that's a lot better than being on a concrete pad under an overpass," Doom said.

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