Volunteers put homeless in shelters before snow storm

ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) – With the snow and temperatures dipping well below freezing Wednesday night, volunteers were out in full force to get the homeless off the streets and into shelters around St. Louis.

On every bitter cold winter night, volunteers with the grassroots non-profit St. Louis Winter Outreach meet at Mokabe’s coffee shop in Tower Grove, where they pick up supplies and assign locations to find the homeless.

For the homeless who’d rather stay put, the volunteers offer them food and blankets to get through the night.  But there were others who wanted a ride to the shelter, a much-appreciated warm place to sleep.  One of them explains, “It really means the world, because without them coming to help, we’d be stuck out here in the cold.”

Winter outreach works with two churches and a business that serve as shelters when necessary. Those, along with the 12th and Park city overflow shelter, help nearly 200 people on these cold nights.

St. Louis Winter Outreach volunteer Maddy Christian says, “Meeting these people and getting to know them just a little bit, it makes me think, some of us are one paycheck away from being on the streets, and I would want someone to think about me if I was out there, even if they didn’t know me. So it’s about compassion, really.”

Fellow volunteer Holly Schroeder adds, “It’s just what should be done, nobody should have to sleep outside. So it’s meaningful to me in that way. I can’t imagine, I can’t stand being outside for ten minutes, much less all night long.”

Next week, temperatures are expected to drop below zero, when the group’s efforts will especially be necessary.

St. Louis winter outreach is always looking for volunteers, in addition to blankets, and hats, gloves, socks and scarves for men. For information on how to help, visit http://www.stlhwo.org/.