Wiley House provides extended service during winter storm

Shelter in need of donations of food, time

This week’s winter storm has deprived Callaway County’s homeless population of many of its usual resources, such as daytime shelter from the cold at the library and the community center and hot meals from the Fulton Soup Kitchen.

Wiley House, Fulton’s overnight shelter, has tried to help meet some of those needs by staying open 24 hours — usually Wiley House closes its doors between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. — but director Brad Sheppard said the organization could use some help.

“The biggest challenge is to (stay open 24 hours) and not wear the staff out,” Sheppard said. “We could use more volunteers; if people would be interested in working for a couple hours, or even if folks might be able to be on call to just run errands — for example, this morning we had a person (at Haven House, the family shelter) who needed formula because they have no transportation and they haven’t been able to get out for a few days — it might not take much time, but it would make a big impact.”

With half a foot of snow on the ground and sub-zero wind chills, Sheppard said Wiley House has been at capacity for men and near capacity with women.

“What we’ve been seeing more of here recently is for instance, just yesterday we had someone come up from Jeff City,” he said.

With more clients staying for longer periods, Sheppard said finding ways to feed everyone is becoming an issue as well, especially as the shelter has no kitchen and little storage space for food.

“We’ve been trying to keep extra food around, but if people could maybe bring in something like chili or soup or sandwiches, it would really help,” he said.

Connie Cashion, who works with homeless and low-income families around Callaway and helps with the Fulton Soup Kitchen, agreed that winter weather — especially snow and extreme temperatures — “really makes it rough food-wise.”

“A lot of our volunteers (with the soup kitchen) live out of town. The Soup Kitchen’s been closed all week, and the ones that really need it are the ones who are really affected,” Cashion said, noting Soup Kitchen founder Anne Erbschloe has been trying to take soup to the shelter this week. “They can usually go to the library or the community center (for shelter) but that’s the big thing in the winter, is something for them to eat.”

For more information, or to donate time or food to Wiley House, located at 829 Jefferson St., contact Sheppard at (573) 642-6065, or ourhousecallaway@att.net.

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