Topeka Rescue Mission makes risk-reduction plans for COVID-19

The Topeka Rescue Mission is making risk-reduction plans, including moving some guests to the Children's Palace, which was closed last year.

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) -- The Topeka Rescue Mission is ramping up steps to keep its guests and employees safe from COVID-19.

Barry Feaker, the Mission’s executive director, told 13 NEWS on Tuesday that guests and staff are being screened for Coronavirus risk factors, including coughing, shortness of breath and fever.

Guests and staff members at the Mission, whose main shelter is at 600 N. Kansas Ave., also are being checked to see if they meet any additional COVID-19 risk factors, including recent travel to “hot spots” such as California, Florida and Illinois.

Guests showing symptoms are being quarantined from the rest of the Mission population. About 250 men, women and children are staying at the Mission at present.

To make room for additional space for individuals showing symptoms of COVID-19, some guests are being relocated to the Mission’s Children’s Palace, 601 N.W. Harrison, which was closed last year as part of budget cuts.

Feaker said nine additional staff members are being hired to help with extra duties associated with COVID-19 risk reduction, which will cost the Mission an additional $219,000 over six months.

Feaker said all staff and volunteers will undergo extensive orientation and training starting Wednesday to make sure the risk-reduction efforts are carried out as effectively as possible.

Feaker and about six other key staff members met Tuesday to develop plans for risk-reduction.

He said the Mission is working closely with the Shawnee County Health Department.

Some volunteers “understandably” have stepped away in recent days, Feaker said, while other new volunteers have offered their services.

Feaker said the best way to help at present is to make donations at or call 785-354-1744.