'Stretched to the limit': Eugene Mission sees record numbers

EUGENE, Ore. - Resources at the Eugene Mission are being stretched to the limit, and with hundreds of visitors weekly officials said that they are running on empty.

During the last full week in October the Mission saw a record 470 people come in off the streets for help. Executive director Jack Tripp said that the Mission saw somewhere around 375 people at this time last year.

Tripp thinks the economy is drawing more people in. And they're seeing more men, women and children from other states.

"We have guests here now from Texas, Chicago, from the Northeast, from all over the country," he said. "They maybe had some sort of connection to Eugene, maybe lived here at one time and had good thoughts about the place or have a relative here."

With so many extra people coming into the Mission, Tripp said they've opened up extra rooms for folks to sleep in.

"We actually saw winter-like numbers in summer," he said. "So from that we started planning and opening up some rooms that weren't used for beds."

The Mission also receives clothing donations year round, but with so many extra guests, clothing donations are dwindling.

"We have no underwear or socks whatsoever," said Tripp. "We also need shoes desperately."

Walking into the clothes closet on the men's side of the building, many of the shelves are bare.

"We usually have five times more than this," he said. "Typically we would see barrels and barrels of clothing, but we don't right now and the reason for it is that we're housing over 100 more men a night than we did a year ago."

He said without a big wave of new donations, he doesn't know where they'll be in a few months.

"It's pretty much stretched to the limit right now so I don't know what's going to happen exactly on a really bad night."

He said any donations of clothes, food and money can be dropped off at the Mission Monday through Friday from 8 until 4 p.m.

The Eugene Mission is located at 1542 West First Avenue in Eugene.