At some point this year, Winter will finally be over, and when it goes, volunteers with area food ministries will be happy to see it go.
With wind chills below zero on more than one occasion, almost everyone is in agreement that it’s been a long, harsh winter, and it’s showing in the number of meals Outreach House of Joplin has served so far this year, not to mention the impact of the government shutdown just over a month ago.
“Might have 125 people, not meals, but people in less than two hours. It was crazy so it’s been it’s been hectic,” says Terri Giarratano, Director at the Outreach House.
Christy Miller, an Executive Assistant as Souls Harbor, says the extra meals they’ve served daily so far this year are really adding up. She explains, “At this point we’re looking at 10-12 more meals a day and that really makes a big difference on how much food that we’ve had donated and what is going out.”
People at both ministries have noticed a big increase in the number of meals they’ve served this winter compared to last winter.
to add to the workload, Giarratano, also known as Mrs. G., the weather has directly affected her number of volunteers helping to serve those extra meals.
Giarratano says, “Because a lot of my volunteers are senior citizens and they’re obviously not going to get out and drive in this weather. In fact, today, it’s 8 degrees out here and I had four of my volunteers all the way up to 97 that said, you know what, I think it might be too cold for me”
Meanwhile, Miller says they’ve permanently lost a number of volunteers.
She explains, “They have retired and have went and left us which means that we have younger volunteers coming in but we are still lacking volunteers, there’s quite a few positions needing filled and it’s putting our staff where they’re pulling a lot more hours trying to fill these positions”