Cape Girardeau church opens doors for the homeless

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - When winter weather hits most people shy away from even stepping outside their home, but people who are homeless have no choice but to endure those cold environments for hours on end.

A group of concerned residents in Cape Girardeau, MO decided to help by creating a temporary winter weather shelter as a safe, warm place to escape the cold.

It's located at 516 North Street inside St. James AME Church and offers a variety of sleeping arrangements, free food and warm coffee.

The pastor there, Rev. Renita Green, said that she recently set up two other church shelters in the St. Louis area.

After posting about it on social media, other Cape community members were encouraged to form a winter outreach team and create what they've been it calling 'The People's Shelter.'

"It's by the people for the people," Green said. "We're really concerned about the health and well-being of our unhoused neighbors who are sleeping in cold wet places. "

"There are so many amazing people here that love each other," she added. "And they do love people that they don't even know, and they've come out with massive amounts of love to show."

Green said that a dozen cots we're supplied by the National Guard, bedding supplies were supplied by Candlewood Suites Hotel, and that a few downtown businesses donated warm food and coffee.

As of Friday evening, only two people were taking advantage of the church shelter.

Green is planning to have it open throughout the weekend and is encouraging anyone who doesn't have a warm place to stay to stop in.

"We got a call Thursday about a woman and her three children who were sleeping in a car," Green said. "We did go out but we weren't able to find them. One of the encouragements that I want to give is that we're not getting into your business. We just want you to come and be safe."

"We can't necessarily change a person's life," she added. "We're not trying to end homelessness or save everybody. But this is the little thing we can do for right now and you don't have to suffer needlessly."

For more information or to donate to the effort just can call St. James AME Church at 573-334-9119 or just stop by.

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