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Cold weather shelter dedicated

November 01, 1998

Cold weather shelter dedicatedBy KIMBERLY YAKOWSKI / Staff Writer

photo: RICHARD T. MEAGHER / staff photographer




As temperatures dip this winter, area homeless people will find a warm bed and hearty meal at a cold weather shelter at the site of the former Cannon Shoe Factory, 148 W. Franklin St. through April 11.

Sponsored by the Religious Effort to Assist and Care For Homeless People and Washington County congregations, this year the shelter will be remain at the West Franklin Street location instead of moving every two weeks.

The factory's owner, the Christ's Reformed Church, is considering making the multiple story building the shelter's permanent home, according to REACH, Inc., Director Terri L. Baker.

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On Sunday, about 60 volunteers joined Baker and Pastor Donald Stevenson of the Christ's Reformed Church, for a candlelight dedication at Christ's Reformed Church at 130 W. Franklin St. celebrating the opening of the shelter and the community's efforts.

"Everything's working out great. We are blessed to have this location," said Baker.

Last year the shelter fed and housed 250 different people, which is an indication of the need for the service, said Baker.

When established in 1996, the shelter served 12 adults a night. Their second year they double that amount.

This year Baker said she anticipates helping about 20 people per night. The shelter operates 7 days a week from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and professional security is on site throughout each night. The shelter is staffed by trained volunteers each night in two shifts.

Its services include hot meals, hygiene items, blankets, cots, security, showers, laundry assistance, mail/telephone service, helping agency outreach, referral and sometimes monetary assistance for individuals. The shelter is intended for adult men and women.

Monetary donations to pay for utilities and clothing including gloves, hats, socks and long underwear are needed and can be dropped off at the shelter, said Baker.

Six men including William Randall, 25, waited outside the shelter for an evening meal of ham sandwiches, vegetable soup and tea can coffee Sunday night.

Unemployed, Randall said he had no where to go and that he heard about the program from friends.

"They said the food was good and they ran a nice place," he said.

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