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Turlock Gospel Mission prepares to open doors

POSTED October 27, 2009 11:15 p.m.
During the wind, rain and cold nights, most homeless people don’t have a place to take cover from the harsh weather. Their cardboard box homes become soaked and wet clothes only bring on flu-like symptoms. This is where the Turlock Gospel Mission steps in to help give the homeless a warm and dry place to stay along with a full belly before bedtime. They are planning on opening their doors Nov. 15 and will stay open through April 3, 2010.
Through the Turlock Gospel Mission, the homeless can check in at the First Baptist Church located on W. Olive Street around 5 p.m. nightly and will be transported to one of the local churches that are helping house the homeless this winter, said Bill Fagan, board member for the Turlock Gospel Mission.
The shelter serves men, women and children meals but only women and children are allowed to stay the night. The We Care program hosts men for the night.  
TGM provides screening and transportation of all guests to and from the host church site, along with volunteers to assist each volunteer church for the night and bedding for overnight guests. TGM needs about eight to 10 volunteers every night to help with transportion and care for the homeless guests.    
The host church then provides a meal for about 35 guests a night, along with a breakfast bag, a warm place to stay and the sharing of a “good word” to help provide hope and encouragement through a presentation from God’s word, Fagan said.
The gospel mission needs about $100,000 to operate during the winter months. So far, TGM is expecting to get through April 3 financially and with the number of volunteers it already has on board, but it will still be a struggle, Fagan said.
“Our key need is financial resources to hire staff,” he said.
This year, despite the economy, a large amount of churches will be housing the homeless along with feeding them, he said.  
“More churches have stepped up to provide housing,” Fagan said.
From Dec. 15, 2008 to April 5, 2009, TGM served more than 8,100 meals, and 355 different visitors.
“Our goal is to serve people, get them out of the cold and feed them,” Fagan said.  
For more information about the Turlock Gospel Mission, please contact Jeff Woods at 409-4641.
To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail mmartens@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2015.  

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