Our House to host community barbecue

Our House: Caring for Callaway’s Homeless is hosting a barbecue Sunday, and executive director Brad Sheppard is hoping a large number of his Callaway neighbors show up to support the organization.

From 4-7 p.m. in the First Christian Church parking lot, Our House will be serving up hamburgers, hot dogs and fun in an attempt to garner a little more attention — and funding — for its cause of providing housing for Callaway County’s homeless. The event also will include a bounce house and live music from the local band Project Hysteria.

Last year’s Our House barbecue drew 100-125 community members and raised approximately $1,000.

According to Sheppard, that kind of support is more important now than ever.

As with many other community resources, demand for services at Our House has been steadily on the rise, with Haven House — the family shelter — remaining full all summer.

“Unfortunately, I had to turn away a father with two children today — they’ve been sleeping in their car,” Sheppard said.

Wiley House, the overnight shelter, has been near capacity most nights as well. Wiley House has been serving an average of 8-10 people a night over the past two weeks, and at the end of July and start of August was seeing an average of 14-15 individuals a night.

“We’ve definitely had more people this year if you compare to previous years,” Sheppard said, noting that part of the reason for the increased numbers can be attributed to the fact that, “people are more aware of us now as a resource.”

Unfortunately, he said, the Our House coffers are having trouble meeting that demand. Our House has an annual budget of approximately $94,000 per year. The monthly upkeep for the two shelters is $8,000.

“Unless we’re able to raise more money, we’re going to be in a really tight spot,” Sheppard said. “There’s definitely a need in the community, and we want to keep meeting that need.”

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