Families struggling to survive the cold turn to KC emergency shelter for help

KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The lingering, harsh winter is still pushing more families in need to City Union Mission in Kansas City.

"It's been a tough few days for us. I'm just really happy to be here," Melissa Macias said.

A few days ago, the single mom and her four children moved to Kansas City from Dallas. Macias' only option: stay at City Union Mission.

"I really didn't know exactly what was going on, but when I called them, I didn't know if they were gonna be open. Somebody was there for us," Macias said.

Year-round the emergency shelter near 13th and Wabash is usually packed. This winter has been no exception.

"We have three overflow rooms. The main one has nine beds. They're all just consistently full. We try to fit as many people as we can, but there's still a limit," said Dan Doty, City Union Mission's executive director.

As of Monday night, more than 1,200 people including 23 families in need were staying at the shelter's Family Center.

About two months ago, William Jackson lost his maintenance job and his home. He and his 6-year-old daughter are now also staying at City Union. Jackson is truly thankful for the warm place to sleep and the three hot meals they receive every day.

"The people here are very nice. They try really hard. I mean, they go above and beyond, and the results are just outstanding. I wish I could do more to help those who are struggling to live in the cold," Jackson said.

The shelter's case workers and counselors also assist the families with finding their own homes, employment and give Jackson, Macias and others hope for a fresh start.

"And they're very nice here. I thank God for them," Macias said.

"We're praying that the cold doesn't stick with us for very long," Doty said.

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