Cold temperatures bring more to River City Mission


Reporter - Lauren Adams
Photojournalist - Chad Darnall



PADUCAH, KY- Cindy Gathings is wiping down a steel counter top as her husband, Sonny mops the floor.

The pair are not just working at the River City Mission, they are living there. The pair arrived just 9 days ago, and admits they did not come with much.

"I didn't have a coat. The coat I did have I sold it so my wife and I could spend another night in the room," Sonny Gathings explained of staying in a hotel before arriving at the mission.

In recent days, the mission has filled up, thanks in part to the cold weather. It was not long after Director Shirley Barlow saw Monday's forecast that her phone began ringing off the hook.

"It's cold and they just really want to get in somewhere," she said, adding many callers admitted they had been sleeping in cars or tents.

On Monday, temperatures were projected to drop into the teens overnight, the coldest in nearly two years. As a result, Barlow said she received more than a dozen phone calls, some who admitted they had been sleeping in cars and tents.

Barlow said she would be putting people anywhere she has the space, "We're going to let them come in and sleep in the recliners and when they fill those we'll put them on the (church) pews."

"Thank God for the mission because without it I don't know where me and my wife would be," Sonny Gathings said.

There are no warming centers currently in use in the city of Paducah. New mayor Gayle Kaler tells Local 6 she is talked with the City's park department about opening up their facilities- if needed- in the weeks ahead.