Quinn Chapel A.M.E. Church in Jefferson City was co-host with Missouri Faith Voices to a resource fair Wednesday providing assistance to tornado and flood victims — in addition to the supplies the church has distributed and will continue to distribute after the May 22 EF-3 tornado that hit Jefferson City.
Quinn Chapel's pastor the Rev. Cassandra Gould — who is also the executive director of Missouri Faith Voices — said Wednesday that it's been important to have resources available to people close to the areas that were affected by disaster.
"Come closer to where people are, and we're here," Gould said.
She said Quinn Chapel had been open to distribute donated supplies to people for 19 of the 21 days since the tornado.
Though open days and hours may change in the future, Gould said supplies available at Quinn Chapel — at 415 Lafayette St. — through what's called The Hope Shoppe will be available for the foreseeable future, until it seems clear no one has been left out of receiving help they may need.
She said, for example, in multi-family homes that were damaged by the tornado, sometimes it's only been the family with their name on the lease that's been able to get help.
She said the availability of affordable housing was already an issue before the tornado — which damaged more than 2,000 homes, apartments, businesses and other buildings between Christy Drive and the Missouri River in Jefferson City. And now, landlords are being sought who are willing to accept credit or who are willing to work with people who may have credit issues.
"I'm concerned about gentrification," Gould said of the rebuilding process ahead — that is, concerned housing that will be rebuilt will not be affordable for the people who were already living in the community.
On Wednesday, Quinn Chapel was host to local service providers, such as Common Ground to help people access resources for needs including debris management, financial assistance, housing and transportation.
Gould said a lot of people did not know about the Multi-Agency Resource Center that assisted people over the first weekend of June — "they're here because they didn't go to the MARC."
The Rev. Kimberley Woodruff, who is on Quinn Chapel's ministry staff and is the organizer of Jefferson City Faith Voices, said a few minutes before 6 p.m. that probably 60 people — the majority of whom were in families — had been in and out so far Wednesday.
Assistance was to be available from 3-7 p.m. Wednesday.
Gould said a psychologist is also on standby to help as needed, after being present every day for the first week after the tornado.
Gould said the Hope Shoppe is only closed on Mondays.
The Shoppe will be open from noon-5 p.m. today and Friday.
Gould added the Shoppe is also open noon-5 p.m. Saturdays, and though it is open on Sundays, hours may vary — it was open 1-2:30 p.m. this past Sunday, according to a flier.
Updates are posted to Quinn Chapel's Facebook page.
Gould said Quinn Chapel has served about 200 people and provided 900 meals since the tornado.
The volunteer-run Hope Shoppe's most needed items that people can donate include body wash, bedding, pull-ups, food that's easy to prepare and/or is microwavable, pots and pans, brooms, mops, buckets, hand soap, dish soap and detergent.
Gould expressed gratitude to people who have donated; "every bottle of water brings somebody hope."
The church's phone number is 573-575-5001.