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Shelter closes for season

April 18, 2001

Shelter closes for season



By MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

The REACH Cold Weather Shelter closed its doors for the 2000-2001 winter season on April 8, and plans are under way for the reopening on Oct. 28.

Over the winter months, "We averaged about 32 people a night," said REACH Director Terri Baker. While that figure was about the same as in the previous year, Baker said more women stayed at the shelter this year.

Baker said the number of volunteers, both individuals and groups, increased this year.

"Volunteers working with clients, one on one, results in more referrals to other agencies," Baker said.

Groups making lunches, providing hygiene items and staffing during the night hours at the shelter were abundant but more are welcome.

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"Already we are starting to fill out our calendar for the next season," Baker said. Most of the churches who provided space for the shelter are already signed on for next winter.

"We had some new locations this season, including the Masonic Temple, which was a project of the Williamsport area churches," Baker said.

Until renovations are complete at the old Cannon Shoe Factory building on West Franklin Street, the shelter will continue to rotate among various churches and locations. Baker said that probably would continue for at least two years.

The shelter is open during the winter months from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. daily.

Baker said the long-range plan is also to provide day shelter space in the factory building donated to Christ's Reformed Church a number of years ago.

Participating churches and locations this year included Emmanuel United Methodist, Grace United Methodist Church, Faith Chapel, St. John's Episcopal, The Masonic Temple, First Christian Church, Congregation B'Nai Abraham, Christ's Reformed Church, Presbyterian Church of Hagerstown and Trinity Lutheran Church.

-- Anyone wishing to volunteer with REACH, an acronym for Religious Effort to Assist and Care for the Homeless, may call 301-733-2371.

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