In the early spring of 1988, Neosho Crosslines was formed by a small group of caring individuals. In recognition of 20 years helping people, the Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce honored the agency Friday morning.
In the early spring of 1988, Neosho Crosslines was formed by a small group of caring individuals.
The Ministerial Alliance, at the time, had expressed a great need for an alternative resource of assistance for the needy. There were so many people in Neosho in need of assistance that churches were overwhelmed and needed a source of accountability to ensure that they were not being taken advantage of as well.
Crosslines was formed, with its first space of operation being the northeast corner of the old Ford building on Spring Street.
In recognition of 20 years helping people, the Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce honored Neosho Crosslines Friday morning.
After its formation, the organization’s rent was paid by area churches, and food and clothing were collected and donated by the community.
The Boy Scouts, along with the Neosho Post Office, collected food and donations. Schools and community residents also pitched in to help.
At that time, each family who came in Crosslines for assistance would receive a two-week supply of food, as well as what clothing they needed.
The program has expanded since then. Eventually, Crosslines moved to College Street, next to the city buildings. In 2000, they were forced to give up the distribution of food due to government regulations stating “that commodities must be separated from pantry foods.” At the time, the building did not have another secure room to store these foods.
Crosslines then focused on meeting other essential needs of the people, such as paper supplies, clothing and household goods. They provided a central location for the community to drop off their donations without having to drive to Joplin. That center is now located at 308 E. Spring St.
“Even though our clothing and household items are now sold for a small price, much of the money goes to support our shelter and employee salaries,” said Crosslines President Patricia Miljan. “We offer free diapers, paper products, hygiene supplies, baby bundles and emergency supplies for victims of tragedy. And we give clothing freely to those who qualify.”
In 2001, a board was formed by concerned pastors who saw a need for a homeless shelter in the community. The group also has an executive board made up of local business professionals to help steer and advise in the operation of the shelter. That building is located at 415 High St.
“We currently have 14 people staying here,” Miljan said. “We can have up to 23 to 25 people stay.”
In 2003 -2004, the boards of Crosslines and Compassionate Ministries merged and the name “Compassionate Ministries,” was completely dissolved. The new agency was renamed “Crosslines Guest House and Emergency Shelter.”
The shelter is open 24 hours to help homeless individuals and families.
“Our shelter has a floor for men, a separate floor for women and a few rooms for families,” said Miljan. “Residents may stay up to 30 days and if they are doing exceptionally well in improving their life, they may be granted an extension.”
While at the shelter, residents receive three meals a day, hygiene supplies and an opportunity to attend AA/NA meetings, a special hygiene class and many different Bible studies throughout the week.
“Meals are provided to anyone who is hungry — they do not have to be a resident of our shelter,” said Miljan. “Together, both the distribution center and the guest house are working to assist with as many needs as we can, while encouraging people to learn to support themselves as well.”
Neosho Daily News