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  • Sara Doan

Salvation Army sees a large increase in those seeking shelter; city rallies around the non-profit.

Updated: Mar 3, 2021

JONESBORO, Ark- For several of weeks, the Salvation Army’s has been operating as a twenty-four-hour warming center.

Caring for the needs of the homeless in the area.

With over two dozen people taking shelter at one point, a record number for this experienced staff.

“We had a high of 28 that stayed in our shelter and, last night we, dwindled down to about ten. All of this was new, having a warming center around the clock,” says Northeast Arkansas Chapter of the Salvation Army’s Major Jim Lawrence.

In his 33 years serving in ministry with the salvation army, Major Lawrence says he’s never experienced anything like this.

He along with staff at the Salvation Army saw firsthand the impact this winter weather can have.

“About 15 that stayed in the chapel and also we had another community room where they were staying as well. So, we did have that overflow. I’m glad it was available because we had it. And we know those people are safe. One individual this week that came in that had been sleeping outside had his right hand was frostbitten. Sorta black and, we called the ambulance, and they took him to the hospital,” says Major Lawrence.

While it was a long week for staff, the community rallied around the Salvation Army and made sure any needs and requests are met.

Braving through the snow and ice to deliver meals.

“This community and their giving spirit to this cause,” he says. “I was just blown away with it. From the mayor’s office all the way down to the public and the restaurants that kicked in.”

Warmer temperatures are on the way, but Major Lawrence says they will continue to keep the shelter open depending on the weather.

“During the day, once it gets above 35 [degrees] then it will start closing during the day. But we may be opening up at night when the temperatures dip back down into the low 30’s and down into the 20’s,” says Major Lawrence.

We will continue to update you on any changes to the warming center.

Major Lawrence says their biggest needs right now is hygiene products, men's gloves, and monetary donations.


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