CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCBD) – The City of Charleston is searching for volunteers to help operate a warming center when needed this winter.
City officials say the warming center will offer individuals who are homeless a place to spend the night during inclement weather throughout the winter months.
The warming center, which will be located at the Arthur W. Christopher Community Center on Fishburne Street, will operate on cold nights from November until March and will provide cots, pillows, blankets, dinner and breakfast.
They say many locations that have operated as warming shelters in the past are unable to open this winter because of the coronavirus pandemic. “The need for a warm place to sleep on cold winter nights remains. This shelter will be able to house up to 80 individuals within recommended CDC guidelines for congregate sheltering during COVID-19,” said city officials in a press release Wednesday.
Now, the city is asking organized groups, such as community clubs and religious groups, to sign up to be on call for a week of the winter season.
If the shelter is opened during that week, that group will be called on to provide operational support.
“Depending on temperatures in any given week, this could be no nights at all or several nights. Notice of 48 hours will always be given,” the city said.
Additionally, individuals who sign up will be added to a volunteer back-up list. These volunteers would be called upon to fill in gaps throughout the season.
Background checks will be conducted for all volunteers.
City leaders say volunteers will receive guidance and training to fill a variety of roles to support warming center operations including:
- set up
- food service (meal prep and distribution)
- clean up
Volunteer support will be divided into two to four hour shifts with different functions, some of which will not require contact with guests.
COVID-19 protocols will be in place for the safety of the volunteers and guests.