Lack of volunteers put D’Iberville cold-weather shelter in ‘critical crisis moment’

Lack of volunteers put D’Iberville cold-weather shelter in ‘critical crisis moment’
The D'Iberville cold-weather shelter has been operated by charities Seashore Mission and Loaves and Fishes for three years, as shown in this 2018 photo. The shelter will be open Tuesday, but officials say they need more volunteers to stay in operation. (Source: wlox)

D’IBERVILLE, Miss. (WLOX) - As the frigid temperatures get closer, a shelter designed to help those in crisis is in crisis itself. If the operators don’t get enough volunteers to staff the shelter, they will have to close it.

The Seashore Mission has operated the cold-weather shelter at the D’Iberville multi-purpose building for three years along with another charity, Loaves and Fishes. Officials tell WLOX News Now that the shelter will be open Tuesday, but beyond that, they are not sure.

The agencies are reaching out for volunteers because staffing can’t keep up with the demand. They are hoping with more advance notice, more people can help.

“When we did it last year, it meant that both sides were staying way past, sometimes working 14 hours just to get the food out there and help man that facility for a while,” said Bob Learned, executive director of Loaves and Fishes. “And that’s an aspect we just can't continue this year. We need to make it sustainable. Therefore, we’re going out to the community and say, ‘Come on in and help. Give us a few hours. We can take care of people. Get them out of the cold.’ ”

Elijah Mitchell with Seashore Mission said the effort is in a “critical crisis moment.”

“We don’t want anyone to be a fatality during the cold weather,” he said. “And without the shelter being open, there’s going to be many people on the streets, and some of them may end up in the emergency room at the hospital, which costs money. But at the shelter, they will have someplace to stay warm and perhaps maintain reasonable good health.”

The shelter will open beginning at 5 p.m. Tuesday until 7 a.m. Wednesday. A CTA bus will transport people to the shelter at 4:30 p.m. Tuesday from Seashore Mission. For more information or to volunteer, you can visit the Loaves and Fishes Facebook page or text the number 228-239-1679.

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