Emergency Warming Centers: Providing Hope

It’s hard not to feel downtrodden after watching the recent news stories of disasters happening in our city, our country and around the world. Flooding, mudslides, shootings. It’s overwhelming and seems like too much for one aspiring do-gooder to handle. But then I’m reminded, by our eloquent President as well as by my near and dear Red Cross community, that there are steps we can take, no matter how small, to make our community a better place. Because, although sad news happens all around the world, our best bet for making a difference starts right in our own backyard.

Here I am, adding to the barrage of bad news but for the sake of this post it must be done. This touching story about Randy Tinnell, a homeless man found frozen to death in SE Portland, paints a picture of a life unnecessarily lost. And it reminds us of the vital importance of American Red Cross emergency warming centers.

Chilly Night
When nighttime temperatures are expected to drop below freezing, the emergency warming centers act as an overflow to the already crowded homeless shelters. Unlike most shelters, an open door policy provides a place for those that might be turned away elsewhere. Located at Imago Dei Community, 1302 SE Ankeny, it’s open to guests from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m.
The Red Cross anticipates activation about 14 times this winter, providing a mat, blanket and a hot drinks to up to 150 people each night. Volunteers are always needed.
If you’re interested in participating, please attend an orientation session.
I was lucky enough to volunteer over the frigid New Years Eve weekend and found myself, yet again, being reminded of what little needs to be done to make an impact. I felt warmer on the inside by helping others feel warmer on the outside.
However many times and in however many ways we need to be reminded, there will always be something we can do to give ourselves and our neighbors hope.