Winter Warming Center 2015 – 2016

The City of Spokane has funded Warming Centers for many years. These centers are designed to offer a place for people to get out of the cold when temperatures are extremely low. This year the City will provide funding to operate a Warming Center when the temperature is 20°F or below. This is very cold and it is troubling to tell people that the Warming Center is closed when the thermometer reads 21°F! That is why The Salvation Army is recruiting the assistance of churches and community groups to expand these services to the homeless in our community. Together we can provide a much greater response to those who find themselves out in the cold this winter.

THE GOAL: Open the Warming Center at 32°F or below.

The Warming Center (WC) will operate from November 1, 2015 through February 28, 2016. The City of Spokane is suggesting that three populations to be served in a single location this year. The Salvation Army located at 222 E. Indiana Avenue in Spokane has offered its facility. Single men, single women and families with children will be served. We propose to expand the WC activations to include nights when the temperature falls below 32°. The center will open its doors at 7 pm and provide a warm, safe environment through the night until 7 am.

THE NEED: Many caring volunteers to participate in this ministry.

It will take an Army of volunteers to provide this life saving service to those who are homeless! Your church is needed. I am asking that churches and community groups join us by providing volunteers to serve. Volunteers will provide assistance to Warming Center staff. At all times there will be one trained lead staff overseeing the center during the hours of operation. Additional volunteers will fill supplemental roles; supervising and serving Warming Center guests. Contact Major Stephen Ball to sign-up your volunteer group (509-329-2727 or 509-325-6810).

THE COMMITMENT: Provide volunteers to serve during Warming Center activations.

There are a total of 120 days during the WC months of operation (November 1 – February 28). We need 5 volunteers on duty throughout each night. A church or community group would commit to recruiting and organizing volunteers to work during WC activations. Perhaps your faith fellowship would pray about sponsoring a specific day of the week or month, or maybe take a whole week!

THE EXTRA MILE: Offer services that go far beyond a warm place to rest.

While our first priority is to keep displaced individuals safe during the cold months, we also want people to enter the kingdom of God. People need the Lord Jesus Christ! The “Extra Mile” is the opportunity to let your life shine before men by providing practical acts of love and compassion. These opportunities might include providing a Bible study, offering prayer, leading a worship sing, showing a Christian movie, leading some games for children, giving haircuts or making sack lunches for guests to take with them as they leave in the morning. This part of the WC is all about following the lead of the Holy Spirit! More information will be given during the training that will help in the planning of these types of activities.

Warming Center Monitors

This role is designed to provide assistance in monitoring the Warming Center (WC) facility and guests. Duties include assisting in the client intake process, enforcing WC rules and procedures, supervising the distribution of blankets and other shelter resources, and maintaining the order and cleanliness of the WC. When the Lead Staff goes on a break the WC Monitor is in charge. Monitoring volunteers will be assigned a specific location in the center where they can observe client movements and respond to the needs of individuals. A high priority for the WC is to ensure the safety of all. Any behavior concerns must be brought to the lead staff’s attention immediately.

General Requirements:

  • All volunteers must take part in a comprehensive 2 hour training covering a wide range of topics that are pertinent to the operation of the WC and that are helpful in working with vulnerable and/or difficult populations.
  • Volunteers should arrive on time and stay through their assigned shift. If for some reason there must be a change to the scheduled shift, a call notifying the supervisor should be made at least two hours prior to the start of their shift.
  • Volunteers should dress neatly and be well groomed.
  • Interactions with the WC guests should be polite and appropriate. Efforts to engage in conversations that require the disclosure of personal information should not be initiated by staff or volunteers.
  • Follow the directions of the WC lead staff in carrying out the various duties of the center.

Together we can serve the “least of these” in our community!