FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) As the winter weather entered the Summit City Saturday, the staff at The Rescue Mission prepared for their busy season.
“We get really busy this time of year with a lot of guys,” Intake Coordinator Jared Ballenger said. “It’s super cold out there. “We want to make sure that everybody here in Fort Wayne is in a warm place.”
The staff expects up to 40 to 50 men a night looking for a place to sleep during the cold nights. The facility holds 114 permanent beds and 75 temporary cots.
“We open up the cots in the lobby, the chapel, the cafeteria, wherever we can fit,” Ballenger explained.
If temperatures are expected to drop below 32 degrees with windchill overnight, the doors are opened to all men who are not in trouble with the law or who have been barred for a violent reason.
“If it was something like just disregarding our guidelines, they are able to stay,” Ballenger added. “But while they are staying, they do need to comply with all of our guidelines.”
As the amount of men goes up, the need for bedding also rises. The mission is looking for blankets and pillows. Other donations are welcomed like hygiene products and clothing like hats, gloves and jackets.
“Just yesterday, I had a gentleman come up to the front desk and had just a t-shirt on, needing a coat,” Ballenger said. “Because of the donations and the blessings of the people here in Fort Wayne that are giving to us, I was able to grab a coat and give it to him and bless him with a coat because he didn’t have one.”
If a woman and/or children show up, the people there will work the phones to find them another place to stay with the help of Just Neighbor Interfaith Homeless Network.