KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Frigid temperatures with dangerous wind chills making it feel like 20-below zero greeted Kansas City on Thursday.
The extreme cold had City Union Mission initiating its cold weather procedures.
The Kansas City nonprofit said it expects to see an influx of men, women and families who have nowhere else to go. Organizers said they expect to be at full capacity Thursday night.
Likewise, Shelter KC said it’s been 15-25 beds beyond its usual 60 beds the last few nights.
City Union Mission said it’s prepared to offer warm clothes, hot meals and a warm place to sleep to anyone who needs it.
“It’s a clean bed and a warm, safe place they can come into where they can get out of that extreme weather and it is so dangerous right now,” Karl Ploeger said.
It may be cold outside, but Mike is dreaming of warmer weather.
“Get me a trip to Hawaii,” Mike said.
He was a truck driver. He had a stroke and found himself living on the streets. He said winters were tough.
“Don’t stay out there in this cold. yYu’ll freeze to death,” Mike said. “It’s not good for anybody.”
Then he found City Union Mission, and it changed his life.
“I feel like I’m home now, but I’m not, I’m just living here until I graduate,” Mike said. “But learning about God is the most wonderful thing that could ever happen to me.”
If anyone chooses to go back out in the cold, the Mission has them covered with a bag full of essential items to keep them warm. The kit has handmade scarves, socks and caps as well as hygiene materials.
But the Mission and Dr. Stefanie Ellison prefer people stay inside when it’s this cold.
“Negative 40-50 wind chill you can get frostbite in 5 minutes for exposed areas. So a -20 to -30 it takes about 10 minutes,” Ellison said. “So I would not go outside if at all possible.”
Ellison said Truman Health has seen one case of frostbite in the emergency room. The person’s body temperature was below 90 degrees.
“The skin can change colors on the tips of the fingers. It usually is red,” Ellison said of frostbite signs. “But more severe frostbite where the deeper tissues freeze, it can be pale.”
While at the Mission, FOX4 saw someone come in with frostbite. Organizers offered him a place to get warm.
“We just want to do everything we can to keep these folks safe,” Ploeger said, “because ultimately we want to help them transform their life.”
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Anytime the temperatures drop below 32 degrees, City Union Mission opens a warming center at the men’s shelter. The shelter is located at 1108 E. 10th St. in Kansas City. The warming center will be open from 8 a.m. to 7:30 p.m.
Anyone who wants to stay at the shelter overnight can check in between 3-6 p.m.
City Union Mission’s Women and Family Shelter will also operate as a warming center. The building will be open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Anyone at the warming center can call the hotline to reserve a bed or a family room. They will be assigned as space becomes available.