Former night club aids evacuees
Ridgecrest turns Remington’s into Red Cross relief shelter
By Allison Sebolt
September 20, 2005
SPRINGFIELD– What used to be a night club has been transformed into a service center for Hurricane Katrina evacuees.
In 2004, Ridgecrest Baptist Church in Springfield bought a 33,000 square-foot facility called Remington’s from local night club owners and, after remodeling, it became an expansion of the church.
“We are in the blessing business,” said P.K. Hinkle, minister of servant development. “We bought (Remington’s) for the community, to be able to bless the community.”
Blessings are now flowing with abundance from this facility. After Hurricane Katrina made landfall, Ridgecrest offered the use of Remington’s to the Greater Ozarks Chapter of the American Red Cross. Feeling space constraints at their local facility, the Red Cross took Ridgecrest up on the offer and decided to use Remington’s as a service center.
Hinkle said when she announced the plan to the congregation on Sunday, Sept. 4, there was a spontaneous applause. She said such a use of the facility is exactly what the church had in mind when they purchased it.
To be able to provide a comprehensive service center for evacuees, other organizations have joined the Red Cross inside Remington’s. These organizations include federal, state and local emergency management, the Salvation Army, employment agencies, Ozark Food Harvest and Springfield Public Schools.
Marisa DeClue, public information officer with the Greater Ozarks Chapter of the American Red Cross, stressed the importance of being able to accommodate so many different organizations under the same roof.
“Without the assistance of Remington’s, we would not have this kind of facility,” DeClue said.
On Sept. 6, when the service center began helping evacuees, they provided assistance for 187 people. By Sept. 13, the service center had seen 1,500 people.
“I believe the church often loses its voice in the community, retreating into the four walls,” Pastor Hosea Bilyeu said. “This is both an actual and symbolic attempt to move back into our community to meet needs in our community and gain an opportunity to explain why.”
The Wednesday and Sunday services regularly held in Remington’s have been moved to an outdoor tent. Ridgecrest members have helped with childcare and building maintenance for the service center, in addition to providing hygiene kits for evacuees.
“Something as routine as wiping off tables, (Ridgecrest members) have been here to help us do,” DeClue said.