Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Former Washington Education Center to serve as outreach center

During a closed session tonight, the Joplin R-8 Board of Education sold the old Washington Education Center to S.O.S. (Serving on the Streets) Ministries for $1.

The bid was the only one received for the facility. It was the second time Washington had gone through the bidding process.

S.O.S. co-founder Aaron Garcia (shown with his wife and co-founder Emily Garcia) said the building will be used an outreach center, providing such services as parenting classes, mentorships, and "emergency shelters for people on the streets."

The Garcias explained how their ministry started in an article posted July 20, 2015, on the Joplin Mo Life website:

Last winter we got the idea to go out and help the homeless by handing out sack lunches and hot cocoa out of the back of our car. We would pull up into alleys around the homeless “cul-de-sac” between the Salvation Army and Watered Gardens.

After months of service we knew that God was pulling us in this direction and He told us to find a central point to meet. We thought, “What park would be the best for a central point?”

Ewert park.

We then went to all the shelters and asked them what day they don’t serve food, and all of them told us Sundays for lunch. We knew then that we would serve the homeless and impoverished on Sundays at 2 PM at Ewert Park.

Twenty came. Then 30. Then 50, 75.

Now we are seeing up to 125 people show up every week.

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