Colville Community Warming Shelter to reduce hours due to lack of volunteers

RaeLynn Ricarte

The Colville Community Warming Center will only be open two nights a week this winter unless more volunteers come forward to take a shift, say organizers.
“We really need people to sign up for one of the six-hour shifts,” said John Horton, president of the center board. “Last year, we had 45 volunteers and this year we’ve only had 25 sign up.”
The first shift — two people are required — at Frank Starr American Legion Post 47 is 4:30 to 10 p.m. and that is the busiest because doors open at 5 p.m. and people come in to get a microwave meal, or eat dinners donated by local residents and churches, wash their clothes and shower.
The second shift is from 10 p.m. until 4 a.m. and is a quiet time since most of the guests are sleeping.
From 4 a.m. to 9:30 a.m., shift volunteers are on hand while guests eat breakfast and get ready for their day, and to wash bedding.
The shelter for homeless people and those needing a place to stay overnight because a vehicle broke down, or some other emergency happened, is open when the wind chill makes the temperature 25 degrees. Last year, it was open 128 days between November and the end of March, said Horton.
He said planning for the 2019-20 season is a little late this year because officials at the center, which is incorporated with the state, were working to get the shelter in larger quarters, but that did not work out.
So, the scramble is on to get everything ready for winter, which is coming soon. Anyone interested in learning more about how the Center operates and what volunteering entails is invited to an open house at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 19, at the Legion, 103 East 6th Street.
“We want people to come and we’ll explain what we do and they will have volunteers to talk to,” said Loy Wilhelm, vice-president of the Center board.
Typically, there are eight guests a night at the shelter, although the number can be as high as 17 on the coldest nights. 

Find more on this story in the Oct. 9 issue of The Statesman-Examiner.