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Reported by: Jessica Williams
Tuesday, Jun 23, 2009 @05:39am CST
(Branson, MO) — Imagine every few weeks, calling a different motel room home. According to one church-based organization, that’s the case for hundreds of families in Branson.
When shelter is such an issue, food isn’t always the top priority. That’s why volunteers are trying to help.
Every Thursday, volunteers come to offer Dawn Sipes’ family, including her three month old baby Daniel, free food and a helping hand. “We’ve been staying in this motel, not necessarily this one but different motels, since March of last year,” said Sipes.
Dawn’s husband is working two jobs to try to keep up with the bills, and Dawn stays home with their two young children. She said she appreciates the food because they’ve gone through leaner times when food was hard to come by. “(we would have) doughnuts, or things that are cheap that you can buy at the gas station or that you can put on credit with somebody.”
Two organizations, “Jesus Was Homeless” and “Branson Church Army”, have teamed together to start this food delivery. Each week, volunteers of all ages spend hours bagging sandwiches, chips and cookies to take to families. “They’re so grateful. I mean we delivered food to a gentleman living in a motel room two weeks ago that all he had to eat was an onion,” said organizer Brian Stallings.
Stallings said the idea started with just his family making a few dozen sandwiches at his house, but since then it’s grown to serve almost two hundred people. “The problem with the homeless in Branson is their isolated in these hotel rooms. So you don’t see them in the street like you do in a big city,” said Stallings.
Diane Welch said it’s not just families getting help. She volunteers for Church Army Branson and once found herself in need. She’s a former drug addict. “A lot of times we see people living under bridges, or four or five people crammed into a motel room. It really makes you appreciate what you’ve got.”
Thanks to the help from volunteers, Dawn said her family is getting back on its feet. Next month, she’ll be moving into a rented home.
“Everybody need to keep faith. That’s the big thing, having faith that people are there for you,” said Sipes.
Tuesday night there will be a free information meeting to discuss the number of homeless people in Branson.
The “Point in Time” event will happen at the Centurytel Experience Center.