Back in 1987, the Denison Ministerial Alliance decided to put its efforts behind the community in a way that is still affecting the city 30 years later.
While homelessness has been a topic of heavy discussion within the city of Denison in 2019, volunteers and staff at the Grayson County Shelter have been working to help those who are unemployed or under employed get on their feet. The shelter generally sees around 300 people each year with an average stay of about 50 or more days and is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The current shelter director is Sheila Penn, who has been leading the group for a few months.
To be eligible for a bed, a single man must be over the age of 45 and a single female must be over the age of 23. No minors without parents are eligible to stay at the facility and there is no admission without state issued identification. No unregistered guests are allowed, no illegal drug or alcohol use and no tobacco use is allowed in the building, and each individual must clear a police check. Individuals seeking shelter may not act violently or have a violent past charge, including charges of any kind against a child. Anyone seeking refuge must follow the written rules of the shelter.
During the Christmas season and all other seasons, the site is not only in need of food and supply donations, but also in need of volunteers willing to help keep the shelter moving forward. The shelter is run by donations and does not receive federal support.
“The little things when you are growing up help form the person you are,” former Grayson County Shelter director Annette Limoges said in 2018. “If you feel that everything is bad, you are going to be resentful. You are not going to be a people person. You are going to be a person that takes and does not give. We want to show children that there are people that love them just because they are kids.”
While there are many people who still may be unaware of the shelter that sits at 331 W. Morton Street in Denison, area church groups and social and civic organizations have been known to come in for a day and volunteer or provide meals to those staying at the shelter.
“There are so many organizations in this area that are looking to help people,” Limoges said. “There is even a new non-profit program that is church-based that is trying to help homeless families. We get a lot of $20 donations here and there and also get a lot of larger donations from regular supporters, but we cannot depend on others for funding because there are just so many organizations helping people in this area.”
Some of the greatest help for the shelter comes in the way of support. Limoges said that cards saying that individuals or groups are praying for the staff and residents at the shelter are not overlooked.
For more information on the shelter, call (903) 465-6041.