St. Joseph Church opens as shelter in wake of storms

This is about a church in Arkansas which is stepping forward to help people affected by the recent disaster.

“We got the call last night from the Red Cross and we were up here until about 2 a.m. getting everything set up,” he said. “There’s nobody here right now, but we’ve heard there are going to be a lot of people headed this way as soon as the roads open up.”

Mallett said St. Joseph’s facilities could hold somewhere around 200 people and would also use other amenities at St. Joseph School such as showers in the locker rooms.

St. Joseph Church has been on the Red Cross’ emergency shelter list since at least 2011 and sporadically before that. Red Cross officials inspect standby facilities annually to ensure they continue to be listed as a possible relief center in the event of an emergency. This is the first time that St. Joseph has been used as a Red Cross shelter.

“We’re learning this as we go along,” Mallett said.

The Red Cross will supply some staffing, but he said the line of parishioners and parish organizations stepping forward to volunteer was long.

“I’ve already heard from our Knights of Columbus men and from different groups through the school, among others,” he said. “Right now we’re just trying to figure out how to coordinate all the offers of help we are getting.”

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