Warming shelter to open
Volunteer training set for Sept. 12
By Angie Landsverk
Foundations For Living is preparing for the Oct. 1 opening of its warming shelter with a training day for those interested in volunteering there.
The training day will be held from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Sept. 12, at Foundations For Living, 1421 Churchill St.
The session will take place in the area currently being transformed into a warming shelter.
Robin Madson, executive director of the nonprofit, said the training session will be for anyone interested in volunteering at FFL but specifically helping at the warming center.
“We need to recruit volunteers. That’s our biggest need now,” she said.
The warming shelter will be open from Oct. 1 through April 30.
During those months, its doors will open at 9 p.m. daily and be locked at 10 p.m.
No one will go in or out of the shelter after 10 p.m., Madson said.
She said those who stay at the shelter will be called “guests.”
They will leave the shelter by 7:30 a.m. the next day.
The warming shelter, which will be located in a space toward the back of the building, will have space for up to 12 adults.
Madson said the people who stay there must be 18.
“Someday, we hope to have a place for families,” she said. “This is a starting place. This is not where it’s going to stay forever.”
According to Madson, warming shelters either do not allow children to stay there or have a separate area within the space for children and families to stay.
The building FFL is located in is a little more than 4,000 square feet, and the space for the warming shelter is less than 1,000 square feet, she said.
Volunteers are working to ready the shelter for its Oct. 1 opening.
Several men spent a week sanding, plastering and priming it before members of the North Wisconsin District Lutheran Women’s Missionary League arrived last week.
They spent two days at FFL.
They painted the walls, stenciled Bible verses on them, helped sort donated clothes and made salsa from vegetables from the community garden and First United Methodist Church’s garden, Madson said.
“The salsa will be at the shelter for snacks or for those needing food,” she said.
When the shelter opens, three volunteers will be needed there every evening.
The hospitality host will volunteer from 8:30-10:30 p.m.
That volunteer will assign cots to the guests, make them feel welcome, provide food for them and do a devotional or prayer with them before leaving.
The shelter will have two overnight hosts.
Madison said they will arrive at 8:30 p.m. and stay until 8 a.m. the following days.
These two volunteers will do the paperwork and see that any personal items the guests bring with them are put into a locked area when requested.
“We prefer to have a male and female,” Madson said of the two overnight hosts. “It would be ideal to have married couples or an older youth with an adult.”
She said youth groups could become involved in volunteering when they do so with adults.
“It’s a good opportunity for church youth groups to get involved and do mission work in their own backyard. That was one of the founding principles of FFL, to give church groups opportunities,” Madson said.
There are a few other opportunities for those interested in volunteering.
From 2-4 p.m. Monday through Friday, an intake volunteer worker will do the initial work with those who will be staying overnight at the shelter.
People who want to stay at the warming shelter may register during that time.
While it is not required, Madson said it is strongly suggested.
That will allow the overnight volunteers to know how many people will be staying, who they are and what to expect, she said.
FFL will use Wisconsin Circuit Court Access to check for active warrants, she said.
On Saturday and Sunday, the overnight workers will handle all the intake, Madson said.
FFL will also need volunteers to pick up the sheets and bedding in the morning and wash it at their own homes before returning the items around 4 or 5 p.m., which is when FFL’s office closes, she said.
“Part of the training on the 12th will be informational, about what homelessness is like (here), how to serve,” Madson said. “It will also be practical, hands on, what might be encountered.”
Safety for volunteers will also be addressed.
Those interested in attending the Sept. 12 session may register by calling FFL at 715-942-2725.
In addition to volunteering at the warming shelter, Madson said people may help in other ways including prayer, educating themselves about FFL and homelessness in Waupaca and by donating money or snack items.
“We’re hoping to see what people need just beyond this night,” she said.