EUGENE, Ore. — The Eugene Mission is serving more homeless people than ever before.
Organizers are ramping up their services and preparing for that number to keep growing.
Two nights ago, 479 people found shelter at the Eugene Mission.
The organization is reaching capacity, but staff say they need your help because they won’t turn anybody away.
“The numbers this year since summertime have been 100 to 110 guests more per night than the same night last year,” said Jack Tripp, Eugene Mission Executive Director.
Resources at the Eugene Mission are starting to run dry as a staggering number of new guests come in for shelter every night.
“We’re doing a lot of creative things like having the men sleep in pews in the chapel,” Tripp said.
But managers say it’s the number of women and children on the streets that’s growing the fastest, which has prompted the construction of the new women’s center scheduled to open within the new year.
“My heart goes out to the kids. I can’t imagine living as they are and have in their short life they’ve been here,” said volunteer Terri Becker.
Organizers blame the economy for leaving many without a place to go, but volunteers say the little piece of home you’ll find there is one full of hope.
“It’s become a more Christian-based organization,” said volunteer Randy Rhodes. “When I come in I do an intake interview and we find out where they are at spiritually and emotionally and physically.”
So even if the material things prove difficult to come by, organizers hope the things that ultimately warm the soul don’t.
“The number one mission is to show God’s love, to love these guests in any way we can,” Tripp said.
“I think it’s important to give back and be in service. Christ came to serve not to lead,” Rhodes said.
The Eugene Mission is not government funded, so it’s always looking for monetary donations. Another huge need is underwear and also holiday fix-ins for the upcoming months.