Warming Center opens in Waupaca
Foundations For Living holds open house
Foundations For Living opened Waupaca County’s first and only overnight warming center on Sunday, Nov. 8, at 1421 Churchill St.
The temperature that evening was 25 degrees.
FFL is a nonprofit transitional housing ministry.
“We welcomed two people the first night,” said Executive Director Robin Madson. “Two people that up until then had been sleeping in their car. We expect to have more guests come as word of the center gets out.”
The Warming Center, which can provide shelter for up to 12 adult men and women, will welcome guests each day from 9-10 p.m.
They will be provided a cot with a sheet, blanket and pillow; offered some hot cocoa, hot soup or other snacks; encouraged with a devotion and/or prayer; and then will snuggle in for the night.
All first-time guests will also receive a hand-tied blanket to take with them.
At 6:30 a.m., they will be wakened and again offered a hot drink, cold or hot cereal, juice or granolas bars and then be on their way by 7:30 a.m.
The center is staffed by three volunteers each night – a hospitality host and two overnight hosts – with paid staff on call for support and/or emergency needs.
Guests may come back each night for up to three months, or until they find housing of their own.
“The blessing of having the Warming Center in our building is that we can offer more than just a cot to sleep on,” said Client Services Coordinator Darla-rae Amundson. “As a housing ministry, we have opportunity to work with the guests who come to our center to assist them to move from homelessness to independence.”
The Warming Center will provide a needed service to the homeless in Waupaca County, but FFL did not do it alone.
Along with the board of directors, the Warming Center Steering Committee and FFL staff, there was assistance from Dan and Mary Gengler (board chair); Robert Acord, architect; Dave Dewhurst, Craig Schultz and Jason Norisada from Firestopping Specialists, who donated the material and labor for the sprinkler system; Bill Rotta, of Advanced Energy Improvements, who donated the electrical work needed; Elmer Kiel and Mike Knoeck, who did the plumbing; Lisa Drews and Generous Hearts, who donated tied blankets for each first-time guest to take with them; Richard Madson, who oversees all the maintenance needs; Jackie Barrett, landlord; and the city of Waupaca, which has been supportive of the project.
“But the work is just starting,” said Madson. “With the added hours come added needs including increased heat and electric expenses; food such as juice, milk, bread; a security system; and most important, volunteers. Raising funds, getting donations and recruiting volunteers will be an ongoing process until the center closes for the season at the end of April 2016.”
All donations – both monetary and in-kind – are tax deductible.
Training for volunteers is available on a regular basis.
Visitors are welcome to tour the center, the Clothes Closet and learn about the other services FFL provides during regular office hours, which are 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Those interested in donating funds or food or in volunteering, may contact Madson or Amundson at FFL at 715-942-2725.