Stillwater News Press

Local News

February 9, 2011

Stillwater's Mission of Hope homeless shelter sees spike in traffic; Mobile Meals cancels delivery

Storms knocks wheels off Mobile Meals

STILLWATER, Okla. — A Stillwater emergency shelter was out of beds in the men’s dormitory area Tuesday night due in part to the approach of a  winter storm that dumped several inches of snow overnight.

Holly Smith, program director of Mission of Hope, said the 10 beds in the shelter’s men’s dormitory were full Tuesday, and the shelter had begun housing men on air mattresses in the shelter’s living room.

“We had some people come in last night,” she said. “Right now, we have four people in overflow.”

During last week’s round of winter weather, the 10 men’s beds and the six beds in the women’s dorm were all occupied, she said. Although the shelter often sees more use during foul weather, Smith said the traffic at the shelter is generally unpredictable.

“It really just depends,” she said. “We never know.”

Stillwater Mobile Meals, a service that delivers food to shut-ins, canceled today’s deliveries due to the weather, said director Carolyn Hunger. Generally, she said, if Stillwater Public Schools are cancelled, the service also cancels its deliveries for that day.

Because the service’s drivers are volunteers, Hunger said, she tends to be cautious about putting them on the road in inclement weather.

“It would cause more injury, I think, than good,” she said.

Hunger said she can typically anticipate service cancellations a few days before they happen. When she expects a cancellation, she said, the service’s drivers notify clients ahead of time so they can plan accordingly. If schools remain closed longer than a few days, she said, the service generally tries to restart deliveries as safely as possible.

“The thing about our clients is that they are at home, and so they are capable of providing food for themselves, just not on a long-term basis,” she said. “If this extends more than two to three days, we do try to take care of that.”

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