Warming Centre needs new volunteers to help with expanded hours
Published Tuesday, October 31, 2017 3:26PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, October 31, 2017 6:33PM EDT
After 10 months of renovation work, the North Bay Warming Centre is ready for winter.
"We're now able to open five nights a week starting the first week of January until the first week of April, so from Wednesday evening until Monday morning we will be open," said Karrie Lepoudre, the centre's coordinator.
Lepoudre says Mondays and Tuesdays will be used to clean and prepare for the upcoming week, but The Warming Centre will open under extreme weather conditions.
"On average we usually have between four and five beds filled per night consistently and we also have a lot of drop-ins who come to warm up because they can't afford heat in their apartment or they are looking for socialization," she explained.
Local advocates who try to help those in need in the city say working closely with The Gathering Place Soup Kitchen, the renovated Warming Place is helping alleviate a growing problem.
"I think the combination of us being able to provide the food needs for them and the Warming Centre being able to provide with that safe warm place to sleep is absolutely crucial," said Dennis Chippa, The Gathering Place executive director.
"We need to have more grassroots partnerships like this in the community and across the north."
"This is a vision we've had for a long time and to be here, emotionally, is pretty big," added Lepoudre.
With no government funding whatsoever, the Warming Centre says fundraising is imperative to keep up with operational costs.
Lepoudre says with 30 committed volunteers on board, they are hoping to double that total to avoid burnout.