Cooperation, gifts keep Tupelo's homeless out of the cold

By Galen Holley/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Thanks to the generosity of Tupelo residents and nonprofits, nobody will be left out in the cold this weekend.
Employees of S.A.F.E. Inc., a shelter for abused women, opened the facility’s doors Thursday to four women who had been staying at The Salvation Army.
The Army announced Wednesday that it would ask residents to leave the overflow space it had made available in its community center as a refuge from the cold.
As snow started to fall Thursday, however, and with more expected throughout the night, the Army reassessed the situation.
The nonprofit had been exceeding the capacity of its Red Shield Lodge for weeks, running up utility and feeding costs and putting a strain on its already depleted finances.
Once S.A.F.E. moved the women in, The Salvation Army shifted the remaining 25 men over into the lodge.
“We had the space available, and it’s just a great thing when all of our many resources here in Tupelo can work together,” said Deborah Yates, executive director of S.A.F.E.
The women’s shelter has seven bedrooms, each of which can accommodate multiple residents.
Two Tupelo residents also responded generously to the Army’s dilemma. One benefactor dropped off a $500 check, and Ouida Massengill and her husband, Ray, donated $1,000.
“It just broke my heart to think of anybody being out in the cold,” said Massengill, who is undergoing treatment for breast cancer.
On the “for” line of the check, Massengill scribbled, “A gift of love.”
Contact Galen Holley at (662) 678-1510 or

Click video to hear audio