Volunteers who want to help operate a winter warming station on Charleston’s West Side for those living on the streets or in housing with inadequate heat are urged to take part in a training session on Monday from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the United Way Building.
Plans call for the warming center, located in the Salvation Army building on Tennessee Avenue, to go into operation when temperatures dip to 15 degrees or less, once wind chill factors are taken into account. The center will operate from mid-December to early spring, with volunteers working three four-hour nightly shifts to sign in shelter users, assist with cleaning, and hand out blankets, pillows, toboggans, gloves, hand warmers and snacks.
Twelve to 15 volunteers are needed nightly, and a pool of 60 trained volunteers is sought to assure adequate staffing.
The warming station is a collaborative effort involving the Kanawha Valley Collective, United Way of Central West Virginia and the City of Charleston. Two police officers and two paramedics will be on-site during operating hours.
“The warming station is truly a community effort,” said Jeremy Brannon, a Kanawha Valley Collective AmeriCorps VISTA worker. “We have Kanawha Valley Collective agency partners like the United Way of Central West Virginia, Cabin Creek Health Systems, church groups and the city coming together to see to it that all persons living in Kanawha County are safe, warm and fed this winter.”
Prospective volunteers interested in receiving the training must first register by calling Margaret O’Neal at 304-340-3503 or sending email to firstname.lastname@example.org.