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Mission Offers Shelter For Homeless In Extreme Cold

Reported: Feb. 15, 2014 10:31 PM EST
Updated: Feb. 15, 2014 11:09 PM EST
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CHARLESTON, W.Va. (Dave Benton) -- The cold weather was not letting up its grip on the area Saturday.

The area has had an extraordinarily cold and snowy winter the past few months, and it's really taken a toll on the homeless.

One mission in Charleston is making a difference, even when their help isn't wanted.

David Sneed is on a mission for the Union Mission in Charleston.

“It breaks our heart when we go and shake on a tent and it's negative or 10 degrees,” he said.

Tent City by the Elk River in Charleston is the target for Sneed, to get the homeless out of the cold and into the mission during these frigid temperatures.

“It's so cold outside,” he said. “You carry food to people. You get tears to your eyes, and tears freeze to your face, then you are practically beg for people to come in. Forget the rules. Come in.”

The rules are strict when it comes to drug or alcohol abuse, but when it gets below 32 degrees, the Mission is open to everyone.

Frank lives in Tent City, and said he's been homeless for more than 30 years.

“Been a miserable life,” he said. “It's very difficult. You don't know where you'll sleep or where next meal is coming from.”

But Frank does take advantage of the Union Mission. Like many others, he comes for meals and to keep warm before heading back to the river.

Sneed spoke of the struggle to get people to come in from the cold.

“Sometimes, there's that one person we can get out of the tent or cardboard boxes and get them in,” he said. “It makes it all worthwhile. We can't drive them in, but we can pray them in.”

Sneed said, many times, he gets other homeless people to talk others into accepting help.



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