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City's cold weather shelter program resumes on Oct. 27

September 30, 2002|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

The schedule is out for the 2002-03 Cold Weather Shelter in Hagerstown.

"The shelter will open Sunday, Oct. 27, at 3 p.m.," said Terri Baker, director of REACH - the Religious Effort to Assist and Care for the Homeless.

"We are in the midst of a drive right now for volunteers," Baker said. "We especially need people to work at the shelters and to provide dry food and hygiene items."

Baker said REACH acts in partnership with Washington County Public Schools, so young volunteers can qualify for community service hours needed for graduation. The volunteers drive will continue through Oct. 11.

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When the shelter opens, The Presbyterian Church at 20 S. Prospect St. will begin accepting the homeless through Nov. 10.

The dates of the other congregational-based, rotating shelter sites include:

  • Congregation B'Nai Abraham, 53 E. Baltimore St., Nov. 10-24.

  • Christ's Reformed UCC, 130 W. Franklin St., Nov. 24-Dec. 1.

  • St. John's Episcopal Church, 101 S. Prospect St., Dec. 1-15.

  • Hagerstown Church of the Brethren, 15 S. Mulberry St., Dec. 15-22.

  • Christ's Reformed UCC, 130 W. Franklin St., Dec. 22-Jan. 5.

  • First Christian Church, 1345 Potomac Ave., Jan. 5-19.

  • Trinity Lutheran Church, 15 Randolph Ave., Jan. 19-Feb. 9.

  • St. John's Lutheran Church, 141 S. Potomac St., Feb. 9-23.

  • Christ's Reformed UCC, 130 W. Franklin St., Feb. 23-March 9.

  • Grace United Methodist Church, Church and Winter Sts., March 9-23.

  • Hagerstown Church of the Brethren, 15 S. Mulberry St., March 23-April 6.



Other churches, civic groups, service clubs and volunteers staff the shelter, make breakfasts and lunches, and donate supplies such as paper products and food.

The shelters are Monday through Saturday from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. and Sunday from 3 p.m. to 7 a.m.

The program has been operating since 1996.

Assistance



Families who need emergency shelter can contact the Community Action Council at 301-797-4161. After hours, call the CASA - Citizens Assisting and Sheltering the Abused - hot line at 301-739-8975 to be connected to a REACH crisis volunteer.

Morning Drop-In

The Morning Drop-In program at the New Light Metropolitan Community Church at 40 W. Church St. is also about to be reopened for the 2002-03 season. The program will resume Oct. 28 and operate Monday through Friday from 7 to 8:30 a.m.

Freezing weather plan



Baker said the 2002-03 Freezing Weather Plan prepared by the Task Force on Homelessness in Washington County has been revised. The plan addresses what would happen if there were a cold snap early in the fall or late in the spring or if there is a prolonged period of low temperatures during the shelter's regular season.

If that would occur, the staff duty officer of Washington County Fire and Rescue Communications would make the decision whether to activate the plan.

Families caught out in the cold would be referred to the Salvation Army, St. John's Shelter for the Homeless on Randolph Avenue or to a motel if necessary. Men would be housed at the Hagerstown Rescue Mission.

Emergency shelters would be staffed by agency personnel and volunteers, according to the plan.

Day shelter during extreme weather would include the Salvation Army and Rescue Mission's common areas and the REACH Cold Weather Shelter would stay open.

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