TYLER, Texas — A new group called the Tyler Street Team was able to provide shelter for 177 homeless people in Tyler before historic low temperatures took over Texas.
The driving force behind the group was Callynth Finney, a good samaritan who wanted to help out those in need. According to the National Weather Service, without the proper winter gear frostbite can occur in just 30 minutes, depending on the temperature and wind speed.
"I had a conversation with some guys outside and they said "it's so cold, if we weren't here we'd be sleeping in this," Finney said.
With the help of her friends and community members, the Tyler Street Team raised enough funds to book motel rooms for about 10 days, gathered enough food donations to feed them the entire time, and helped provide clothes and winter gear.
"I wanted to say thank you most especially to all the volunteers for all their efforts and most especially to all those who donated," Mr. Arthur, a homeless man from Tyler said.
He was especially thankful because he was able to take a shower for the first time in 12 years during his motel stay.
The street team was formed because of the winter storm but Finney said she is using her group to serve the homeless community in Tyler year-round. She is collaborating with several organizations in East Texas to provide help to get the homeless community off the streets, permanently.
"We just said, 'We are going to give you the opportunity to never have to be on the streets again. Do you want to take it? Do you want to do it? You're gonna have to give up your freedom but you are gonna have much greater freedom after being in this program for a year,'" Finney said.
Even Tyler Mayor Don Warren took notice of the efforts the group provided during the storm. He wrote the group a message saying,
"As Mayor of our great city, I can’t thank you all enough for everything that you have done throughout this weather event taking care of our homeless population. One of the high points of this past week has been seeing people helping people. As I like to call it, loving thy neighbor. You all have stepped up and you make our city an even better community! Thank you!!!"
For more information on this organization and how you can help you can join the Tyler Street Team group on Facebook.