Second Night of Cold, Second Night of Duluth Warming Centers
Gloria Dei and CHUM Drop-In Warming Centers open again, in need of volunteers and supplies.
DULUTH, Minn.- It’s the second night of intensely cold air across the Northland, and the second night the new warming center at Gloria Dei Lutheran Church is open to give shelter.
10 people arrived at the church warming center Monday night, and nine stayed.
Meanwhile at the CHUM Drop-In Center, which is also open through the night this season, 12-15 people came to stay.
Numbers that officials say is a small dent in the about 150 unsheltered homeless people in Duluth every day, but it is a good start.
At Gloria Dei, the warming center is a room with space for guests to lay their own sleeping materials, or tables with chairs for them to sit.
Church staff had to learn a lot about their security system, storage spaces, and new heating system, said Char Matheson on the Church Council.
It’s the least they could do, she said, after the support they received recovering from a massive fire at their church in 2016.
“We are very thankful for the gifts and the resources that we received when we were burned out and rebuilding our church,” said Matheson.
From opening after renovation, she said using the church as a warming center was a natural first step in their mission for the area.
“We’re here to work with our neighbors here in this neighborhood, helping to build up our neighbors, bring them in from the cold so to speak.”
Meanwhile according to CHUM’s Executive Director having the Drop-In Center open all night every night this winter has been successful so far in its first week of being open.
“The staff has been working on exactly how they want to do it over the past couple of weeks,” Lee Stuart said. “Saying where they want people to go, where they want people to sit, where they want people to lie down.”
“And so I think they’ve done a good job preparing for it and I think it’s going really well.”
CHUM is finalizing paperwork to build an annex on the back of the building by the parking lot, where guests to smoke or spend time outside. It will be covered and feature some areas for seating.
The Gloria Dei warming center is looking for more volunteers.
With two on in the evening and two in the morning, Matheson said they have a good list so far, but winters here are long.
You can contact the church through their Facebook page to get involved.
They are also looking for donations of sleeping pads, as right now guests bring their own, along with winter clothing like hats, gloves, and mittens.