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Training sessions offered as Hagerstown cold-weather shelter prepares for opening

September 08, 2008|By MARLO BARNHART

HAGERSTOWN -- The announcement of scheduling for volunteer training and registration sessions is a signal that the 2008-09 REACH cold weather shelter is getting ready to open.

This year's opening day is Sunday, Oct. 26.

The permanent shelter is at the REACH headquarters at 140 W. Franklin St. It will be open Monday through Saturday from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. and on Sundays at 3 p.m.

The shelter is available to men and women ages 18 and older, according to Lori Wriston, the new coordinator of the shelter.

Training sessions for volunteers will be held Tuesday, Oct. 21, from 6:30 to 8 p.m.; and Wednesday, Oct. 22, from 2 to 3:30 p.m. and from 6:30 to 8 p.m., Wriston said.

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Dr. Mark Jameson will speak on tuberculosis and Hagerstown Police Officer Gerry Kendle will teach physical safety training Thursday, Oct. 23, from 6:30 to 8 p.m.

Training will be held at the REACH office in the Aspiring to Serve Building, 140 W. Franklin St., Suite 300, at the rear entrance near the WIC office.

New volunteers must attend one of the three sessions. The TB/safety training is open to all volunteers but is not mandatory, Wriston said.

Due to recent changes in policy, veteran volunteers also are encouraged to attend training.

Veteran volunteers may pick up their 2008-09 manuals and registration forms during the training sessions or Monday through Thursday between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. at the REACH office.

Other training and registration times are available by appointment only.

New to the job as shelter coordinator, Wriston said she has been impressed with the way the shelter's needs have been met by an army of volunteers, churches, REACH staff and other groups.

Most of the shelter's volunteers, supplies and lunches are being provided by churches. Also involved this year are the Williamsport Retirement Village and Hub City Vineyard, each of which is sponsoring a week in March.

Bagged lunches are being prepared by Beaver Creek Lions Club, Brook Lane, Williamsport Retirement Village, Robinwood Family Practice, Grace Academy and Fahrney-Keedy Memorial Home, in addition to churches, Wriston said.

Anyone wishing to donate items to the shelter may obtain a list at the REACH office. Wriston said there is a need for new pillows, as well as toiletries, condiments, and paper and cleaning products.

In an earlier interview, Wriston said she feels strongly that the community needs to understand the reason the shelter exists.

"What I have found is that we are a shelter of last resort," Wriston said. "We take the people no one else will take."

Additional information may be obtained by contacting Wriston at 301-733-2371, ext. 108, or by sending e-mail to lori.wriston@myactv.net.

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