LaGrange Troup Homeless Coalition prepares for cold temperature

Published 8:30 am Wednesday, December 21, 2022

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In preparation for the frigid weather ahead, the LaGrange Troup Homeless Coalition (LTHC) has opened its warming center up for those in need of a place to beat the cold.

LTHC board member Mike Wilson said the center needs a few extra hands starting now until the day after Christmas.

He said volunteers will have a variety of duties ranging from checking people in, handing out blankets and toiletries and helping them find their way around the center.

“We tell people all the time that its more important to be with than it is to do for, so we encourage our volunteers to visit with the guests to get to know them. A lot of times they’re just looking for somebody to talk to and hear their story,” Wilson said.

Wilson said as of right now, the center is stocked on food, but he expects it to go fast. He said for those looking to donate, the center could use microwavable meals, single-serve snacks, drinks, towels and linens.

With the upcoming winter weather, Wilson said he expects the center to have a higher turnout of guests.

“What we’ve learned over the last six or seven years is that a lot of times, homeless individuals will not leave where they’re at until the temperatures drop down into the low 20s,” Wilson said. “They will just hunker down wherever they’re at because they know it’s going to warm up with the next day, but when the temperatures get down like it’s going to be this week and this weekend, we expect higher turnout.”

Wilson said he feels the center is prepared should there be more guests than expected.

“We are as prepared as we’re going to be,” Wilson said. “We’ve got it down and figured out. I won’t say we have it 100% figured out, but we know what we’re doing and have some trained volunteers to help out.”

For some guests of the center, Christmas will be spent there. Wilson said the center tries to make it a little bit festive and tries to do what it can for guests. He said this year the Turnaround Christian Center will be providing dinner and another group will come to decorate a tree and volunteer time.

“I’m sure Christmas feels like any other day if you’re homeless, but we try to try to make it a little bit festive and try to do what we can,” Wilson said.

Wilson said the center will be open through at least Monday or Sunday night from 5 p.m. to 8 a.m.