Volunteer training for Colville Warming Center this weekend

RaeLynn Ricarte

The Colville Community Warming Center has picked up enough volunteers to be open every night when the temperature -- with wind chill -- is 25 degrees, but not as many as they need.
“If we get enough people coming forward, no one will have to work more than one shift per month,” said John Horton, president of the center board.
A training session for all volunteers, and an opportunity for potential volunteers to learn more about the program, will be 11 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 9 at Frank Starr American Legion Post 47, 103 East 6th Street. Snacks will be provided.
“We will go over all the rules and talk about what is expected of volunteers,” said Horton.
He said the shelter at the Legion was open all last week and had about 14 people staying there each night. The first shift is 4:30 to 10 p.m. and that is the busiest, said Horton, because people are microwaving meals, washing clothes and showering before settling down for the night. The second shirt 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 workers are on hand one guests each breakfast and get ready for their day. This shift washes bedding.
The center is not only for homeless people, but those needing a place to stay overnight because a vehicle broke down or some other emergency happened, said Horton. Last year, the center was open 128 days between November and the end of March, and it looks like 2019 could have a similar schedule, said Horton. People wanting to help out, but not volunteer, can contribute funding, said Horton.
“That is really what we need the most right now because we can buy food and hygiene items as needed. We also want to pick up some Christmas gifts,” he said.
If people prefer to donate goods, Horton said sweatpants are needed for men and women in all sizes. Granola bars, cocoa and instant oatmeal are also popular items, as well as chili, stew and soups. The Stevens County Commission provides $10,000 every year for the operation, but Horton said there are always extra needs that require additional support. This year, gift cards of $10-$25 are being sought to provide as a reward to volunteers in weekly drawings. Some volunteers are on fixed incomes, said Horton, so the cards can help them buy fuel to get back and forth to the center from home.
“Volunteers are what make this all work,” he said. “Because of them, people aren’t suffering out on the street and possibly freezing to death.”
For more information, or to sign up as a volunteer, call 509-690-2505 or 509-680-2409. The Legion can be reached at 509-684-8480.