Warming Center in ‘dire’ need of volunteers

Published 10:32 am Friday, December 31, 2021

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As January threatens to bring in freezing to below freezing temperatures to Troup County, entities like the LaGrange-Troup County Warming Center are gearing up for an influx of people who will need a warm place to stay for a night.

While the Warming Center, operated by New Ventures, is currently well-stocked with items like microwavable meals, they have a great need for volunteers to help them with the shifts. At the moment, the Warming Center is functioning with only a handful of volunteers.

“Our volunteer situation is pretty dire during the nights we are open,” explained Mike Wilson, CEO of New Ventures. “Typically, we’re seeing the same volunteers for the early shift.”

The Warming Center, which operates when temperatures are 37 degrees or colder outside volunteers for the following three positions particularly:

Sign-in shift (4:30 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.), Dinner shift (7:30 p.m. – 10 p.m.)  and overnight (10 p.m. – 7 a.m.).

The center needs volunteers for its overnight slot especially, Wilson said.

“We try to have two [volunteers] a shift, so six a night,” he said. “This [lack of volunteers] is relatively new … we’re just not seeing see people come in for the early shifts as we have in the past, and overnight shift has been a major issue as well.”

In the past, it’s been able to rely on a handful of college students to help fill some of the slots, but they have not had many volunteer this year, he added.

Since opening its door for the season, the center averages five to 15 individuals in need of its services. The recent warmer weather has kept the center’s intake stead, but Wilson predicts this number may rise as temperatures fall.

“We’re so dependent on volunteers that we don’t know how much we can recuperate,” he said. “We’re just trying to get people to show up. Hopefully, things will get better after the first of the year.”

Ideal volunteers should be over 18, Wilson said.

The Warming Center is located at 150 E. Lukken Industrial Dr. The center updates its Facebook regularly to announce what days it is open. It also places signs around LaGrange to announce its open days.

Those in need or who are interested in volunteering for the center may call New Ventures at (706) 882-7723.

They can message instant message the Homeless Coalition Facebook page.