Homeless in Rapids can hitch ride to shelter - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Homeless in Rapids can hitch ride to shelter

 By Anna Carrera - bio | email | Twitter | Facebook

WISCONSIN RAPIDS (WAOW) -- Last month, we told you how Wisconsin Rapids churches opened their doors for the homeless. Now police make sure the homeless get a ride.

When Wisconsin Rapids church leaders realized the homeless in their community needed shelter from the cold, they opened their hearts and their doors to bring them in. Six local churches take turns laying out their cots, different faiths coming together for a common cause.

"It has to do with being the church that we're called to be," said senior pastor at Baker's St. Community Church, Milt Van Natta, "which is to be agents of passion and grace in our communities."

But they didn't stop there. Within a few weeks of starting the program, a new issue came up: how to bring the homeless to a warm shelter.

"This is a bigger and more complex issue to address than we originally anticipated so we're trying to address those things as we become aware of it," said Van Natta.

The community was already working together to serve those in need. Now the police department steps in.

"We thought that would be a nice compliment to what the churches are doing to see what we could do about transportation," said Wisconsin Rapids Police Chief Kurt Heuer. "River Cities Cab was very quick to assist in that."

An anonymous donation from last year fueled the funds for the city-wide cab service.

"Made sure that law enforcement had a pot of money to help the homeless when needed," said Heuer.

A community is growing stronger together, ready to weather any storm that comes their way.

"It seems that everyone's hearts are being stirred in a slightly different way to meet a different need for people who at this point in time are really facing some challenges in their life," said Van Natta.

If you, or someone you know, needs a place to stay for the night, you can call 211 and they will help you get in touch with the churches and the cab drivers.

Online Reporter: Anna Carrera

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