FAFOGLIA ROOM AT THE INN

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COLUMBIA - People who work at a Columbia shelter say more people would volunteer if they knew how gratifying it is to work with the homeless.

Marilyn McCreary has been a Room at the Inn volunteer for eight years. 

"I just feel it is a part of my expectations as a Christian, to feed and do safety for the people, so that they're warm and safe," she said. 

Room At The Inn is a homeless shelter that hosts guests overnight during the coldest months of the year, December through March. The shelter moves to different churches in Columbia every two weeks.

McCreary volunteers five to six nights a week in January. 

She said some of the guests have been coming in as long as she has and many have become friends.

"It's always good to see them and say hi to them, see how they're feeling," she said.

Some guests have gone on to buy a home, and have even come back as volunteers, McCreary said.

"I'm more inspired by the people, and taking care of them," she said. "And knowing that we're all helping them to survive this winter, and perhaps to let them know that people care about them." 

Debby Graham, a Room At The Inn leadership team member, said it's always difficult to find volunteers, especially for overnight shifts. 

She said people who do serve can find their whole perspective changing.

"I think, if you do one shift as a Room At The Inn volunteer, that you're not ever going to look at the people that you see living on the streets in the same way again," Graham said.

She said each guest has a story.

"If you're willing to listen, they'll tell it to you," she said. 

You can sign up to volunteer on the shelter's website

The shelter is currently being hosted at the Broadway Christian Church, and will move to the Missouri United Methodist Church on Jan. 28. 

 

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