Hard times bring longer lines to Memphis Union Mission - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Reported by Ben Watson

Hard times bring longer lines to Memphis Union Mission

The economic crisis is taking its toll on Memphis' homeless shelters struggling to meet the growing need. And the problem is expected to get worse before it gets better.

Lines at the Memphis Union Mission, the city's oldest and largest homeless shelter, are longer than they've ever been.

"Ah its scary on the streets," said Benjie Goodwin, who is homeless.

A growing number of local homeless people show up at the shelter not knowing if their financial circumstances will ever improve.
"I'm in here with people that have had jobs with FedEx, and post office people," said Goodwin. "People who've had jobs for many years and have been laid off."

They come to Memphis Union Mission for a meal and a warm place to rest their weary heads.

"We're feeding the mental. We're feeding the spiritual, the soul. We're just feeding all of it," said volunteer Burnadette Felder.

The mission serves up some 550 plates of food each day, seven days a week. That's more food than many local restaurants serve each week.

Shelter directors say they're struggling to keep up with increased demand.
Pastor Jeff Patrick with Memphis Union Mission says shelters in general are hurting because of the economic crisis. "That is true...a lot of ministries out there are cutting back their services. One of the other shelters here recently has temporarily shut their doors."

The Union Mission is doing its best to provide for so many local people who have fallen on hard times. Right now, the shelter is in desperate need of donations, especially warm clothing.

Click here to visit their Web site.

Click here to e-mail Ben Watson. 

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