ST. LOUIS, MO (KPLR)– It`s been a tough day for folks who work outside in the bitter cold.
Carhops at Chuck-A-Burger in St. John have endured the cold of winter and the heat of summer for almost six decades. They can`t wear gloves because it`s too difficult to write orders or make change. They warm their hands on a big container of hot water.
Amanda Stille is a carhop, “You`re just out here constantly back and forth and I go home at nights, take shoes off and I was afraid my toes were coming to come with them. It`s cold.”
Her dad Ron Stille owns the place, “I couldn`t do it, it`s very difficult I give them all the credit in the world they work really hard it`s an extremely tough business.”
Down the raod Simeon James rocked out to the music on his headphones as he advertised for Liberty Tax Service. James wore a State of Liberty costume. James said, “It can get kind of rough when it gets cold I maintain through it, I stay moving I wave back and forth at the crowd I just do my job.”
In St. Charles business for furnace repair at Jerry Kelly Heat and Air Conditioning jumped 100 percent in this week, after it was super warm just days ago. They were happy about that but they know it could be even busier.
General Manager Steve Miles said, “It will usually take four or five days in a row of furnaces running nonstop for us to get totally slammed and have a bad day.”
The colder the weather, the tougher it is on homeless people and helpless animals.
“What I am finding mostly are trapped dogs and injured dogs,” said Stray Rescue of St. Louis founder Randy Grim, who spent the day combing the streets and back alleys of the city looking for stray and feral dogs.
And Grim says he has been noticing something new lately.
When the weather gets cold, people are becoming more warm hearted toward strays.
“I`m impressed. People have been taking the strays into their homes and calling us in areas where they normally wouldn`t call us,” Grim said.
When it gets extremely cold, there is also extra help available for homeless people.
Thursday night, the City of St. Louis opened its winter overflow shelter at the 12th and Park Rec center just south of downtown.
That special shelter opens only when the number of people needing help is extremely high and the temperature is extremely low, at least below than 25 degrees.
“Last night we had 86 people here so it was a pretty full house,” said Bill Siedhoff, the city`s Director of Health and Human Services.
Siedhoff is expecting at least as many visitors Friday night.
The overflow shelter program is run by the city, but relies on help from organizations including the Red Cross, Salvation Army, and the St. Louis Crisis Nursery.
But Siedhoff says other communities need to join the fight because homelessness is a regional problem.
“They come in from the Metro East, they come in from surrounding counties and nobody else seems to want to say (they) should be doing something to help homeless people in our own community and they don`t,” Siedhoff said.
Volunteers will seek out the homeless trying to convince them to come to the overflow shelter.
But some, like Kenneth Goode, who calls himself a part-time homeless person, says many of the homeless think they can tough it out thanks to the kindness of strangers.
“We are blessed because we have donors coming down here and the donors show love to us and bring us covers and candles things like that.”
“It`s been cold man,” Goode said. “Some nights it has really been cold.”