ROANOKE, Va. – With the holidays and winter weather, the Rescue Mission of Roanoke is seeing an increase in the number of people who are in need of their services.
On any given night recently, they are seeing anywhere from 215 to 220 people sleeping at their shelter, compared to the summer when they would see around 170.
“We have 267 permanent beds here at the Rescue Mission. In an emergency need situation, we have a couple hundred cots that we can pull out,” Kevin Berry, the Director of Marketing and Communications for the Rescue Mission said.
Berry said right around November is when they start to see an up tick in people coming to the shelter.
“Our goal when that happens is to identify those folks that are maybe new here or haven’t been here for a while and to say ‘hey what other services can we get you?” said Berry.
Throughout the past year, they have started a new program called Medical Street Outreach. They meet people experiencing homelessness where they are and offer them basic medical care.
“Our hope is as we saw our numbers go up is that we can let those people know we have a lot of resources available for them,” Berry said.
During this outreach, they also share information about the Rescue Mission and the specific services they provide.
“It is much more than just providing a safe night at the shelter. It’s making sure that we have enough meals, that we have enough volunteers staffed in our kitchen ready to serve those meals, that we have case managers and intake specialists on site ready to go when someone comes in here,” said Berry.
This year, the Rescue Mission is celebrating its 75th anniversary. In order for them to continue to serve the community, they need more volunteers, donations, and support. Learn more here.