Local homeless shelters filling up, people seeking relief from heat
Their goal is to offer hope when all else seems dark but when the mercury soars to the triple digits, shelters like the Shreveport-Bossier Rescue Mission offer much more than that.
"We have people living on the streets and underneath bridges."
Virgil Stone was one of those people, who - just a year ago - had no place to go. But he knew his wife and two kids desperately needed a safe haven from the scorching summer temps.
"It keeps them out of the heat. It keeps them where they can be safe. The Rescue Mission is a very good place to come if you're hot," Stone says.
And when the heat is excessive for long periods, Stone says shelters like the Mission offer more than just air conditioning.
"[The homeless] can die from the heat if they don't know where this place is."
Despite being at 98% capacity, Development Director D.J. Hejtmanek, says these extreme conditions are what the Rescue Mission was built for.
"We just set out a few more cots and prepare a little more food and we're okay," says Hejtmanek.
This is a critical time for staying cool, as well as preparing kids for the classroom. Hejtmanek says the shelter is in dire need of bottled water and school supplies.
"Being almost full is unfortunately not an unusual occurrence, especially when the temperatures are either extremely hot or extremely cold."
And for people like Stone and his family, the Rescue Mission can mean a second chance at life.
"This place has brought more joy into my life... and more peace."
Hejtmanek says even though space is limited, if you need shelter, be sure to check with the Rescue Mission daily to see if any spots have opened up.
Their men, women and children's shelter is located at 901 McNeil Street in downtown Shreveport.
The Rescue Mission provides 172 beds for homeless men, women and children in the area. Last year, the shelter provided more than 137, 000 meals.
Hejtmanek says the facility is in critical need of items like over-the-counter medications, diapers, personal hygiene products, clothing and food.
For a complete list of critical need items, and ways you can donate, just visit the Shreveport-Bossier Rescue Mission's website.
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