OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A local metro church that’s involved with the local homeless community estimates over 100 homeless people are sick with COVID-19, the flu or something else. The pastor is pleading for a bigger church to step up and open their doors to help.
“It’s just so cold. I’m afraid they’re going to get sicker out here or maybe even die. I’m serious,” said Pastor Sandy Patton of WWJD Westlawn Church.
Pastor Patton said she personally knows the homeless community surrounding her church, near Reno and Villa, who have been begging the congregation for help. She believes up to 80 percent of the community are sick.
“I think in this area alone, I’d estimate about 100 sick people are out in tents,” she said. “They came here for help. ‘Can you feed me, please? I’m so sick. I just now got out of bed.’”
The pastor, who is also a BSN and trained missionary, isn’t sure if they have COVID-19, the flu or some other virus. Either way, she said the weather is going to make the situation worse.
Wednesday, some staff members went tent to tent to see what condition they’re in.
“They report to me they’ve had a fever for about three days with chills. Sometimes, they have nausea and vomiting and diarrhea. Most of them have light fevers, chills, body aches. Real bad,” said the pastor.
She said her church is too small to handle the load. Plus, she and her staff are recovering from COVID-19 themselves.
Wednesday, the pastor has had the phone glued to her ear, calling homeless shelters, but they’re all full.
“And they can’t let people who are sick in with people who are well, cause that won’t work,” Patton said.
Dan Straughan, the executive director of the Homeless Alliance, said the facility is packed every night and shelter staff everywhere are being stretched thin.
“We have a significant number of our staff that are out with the flu or COVID,” Straughn said. “If we had known about Omicron back in September, we could have prepared for this, but nobody was prepared for this.”
Now, Patton is begging bigger churches to step up.
“We need a large church to open their gym or something. Some kind of facility that has adequate bathrooms, that have mats, a little soup kitchen with chicken noodle soup,” said Patton. “There ought to be a big church out there that hears my cry.”
At the start of the pandemic, there was a shelter that housed those who had tested positive for COVID. However, it has since closed.
Meanwhile. the Homeless Alliance is trying to help some of the more severe COVID patients with a hotel room.