By Brandon Martin
The Martinsville and Henry County (MHC) Warming Center reopened its doors for the upcoming winter season on Dec. 30.
Partnering with Forest Hills Presbyterian Church (FHPC), the Warming Center looks to “provide a safe, warm overnight stay for those experiencing homelessness when temperatures are below 35 degrees.”
The church lives up to their mission of “reaching out and welcoming in” by partnering with the MHC Warming Center which began in 2013.
“We are excited about this partnership, and we are thankful for other partnerships that help make the MHC Warming Center a possibility in our community,” The MHC Warming Center said on their Facebook page. “With the help of FHPC and others in the community, we are making a difference.”
While the Warming Center have announced their opening date, they say they are “always in need for volunteers” and noting that their biggest need is “volunteers that can stay overnight.”
In total, there are three main roles a volunteer can fill with the center. They can provide meals, assist with the intake of individuals or volunteer overnight. Overnight volunteers are responsible for closing the doors at the appropriate time, waking the guests up and feeding them breakfast, and notifying dispatch of the total number of guests for the night.
The center operates from 7 p.m. until 8 a.m. Overnight guests are accepted between 7 and 9 p.m. Dinner also is served during that time. The doors are locked at 9 p.m., and guests get settled for the night. According to Harrison, guests are still allowed in after this time but they must be brought in by law enforcement officers.
The shelter is funded through donations from the community. Financial donations are coveted, but items such as water-proof gloves and new undergarments also are needed, organizers said.
The Warming Center partners with local social service agencies, churches and organizations to spread the word to potential people in need. Flyers, road signs, social media and other communication methods also are used.
Training and information is available for volunteers. Schedules will be posted either via social media or email. For additional questions or information, contact Anderson at (276) 358-1755 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.