Warming center sees rise in visits and seeks more volunteers
The LaGrange-Troup County Homeless Warming Center has seen a slight increase in those staying at the center compared to last winter.
“We’ve had approximately 18 people stay every night we are open,” said New Ventures CEO Mike Wilson. “It has been a little more than average than last year.”
Wilson said that three years ago it was 30 to 40 a night, until a ministry started helping.
“It looks like we will hit another stretch of cold weather next week,” Wilson said. “It has stayed pretty steady, and we have a good year so far.”
The warming center is currently seeking donations of canned and bottled drinks and single serving snacks.
“The community responds in such an amazing way when the warming center starts to open,” Wilson said.
“I have got a freezer full of microwaveable meals, that I could not fit anything else in.”
When temperatures drop again Tuesday night, the warming center is expected to open for those seeking shelter from the cold.
“We do have some people waiting … and there are several groups that take up collections and wait on us to call on them,” Wilson said.
The center is also seeking volunteers to help with its three available shifts, which are the following:
44:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. is check-in for guests
47 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. is check in and assisting with meals
49:30 p.m. to 8 a.m. is overnight stay assisting with guests when needed
Right now, Wilson said that the center needs volunteers that can stay overnight.
“We always need volunteers for the overnight shift because it is the hardest shift to fill,” Wilson said.
“We are always needing people.”
Those looking to volunteer can get in touch with Wilson at (706) 333-7973, or send Chase Hall an email at firstname.lastname@example.org stating they want to be volunteers.
“They will get an email and can just pick the shifts they want to do,” Wilson said.
The warming center can hold up to 75 people each night it is open. Those seeking shelter from the cold can find out if the center is open by signs that are strategically posted in the community and also online.
“We have a couple of veterans that are homeless right now and are seeing them every night,” Wilson said.
“This is some peoples only opportunity to get out of the cold.”
Local law enforcement will give anyone who calls and says they are homeless a ride to the warming center.
The LaGrange Housing Authority also runs a bus line through West Georgia Star that will pick up during the evenings and drop off at the same location the following morning.
Wilson said that they could not run the center successfully without the support of the community.
“We cannot thank them enough,” Wilson said. “And especially thanks to the West Georgia Star and the housing authority because without them people would be walking in the rain and cold.”