The Hermiston Warming Station is in desperate need of more volunteers, according to board members.
Sandy Francis, the warming station’s new board chair, said so far only 31 people have signed up to be volunteers. That’s not enough to staff the station all through the night, although they have committed to at least opening from 7-10 p.m. each night so people can come in and get warmed up and have a cup of soup.
“We may have to turn them out at 10, unfortunately,” Francis said.
The warming station posted a plea for more volunteers on its Facebook page on Sunday, Nov. 22, along with a schedule of more training dates at 6 p.m. every other day. Volunteers must attend a training, pass a background check and be at least 18 years old. They don’t have to RSVP, just show up at 1075 S. Highway 395 in Hermiston at 6 p.m. on one of the dates listed.
“We understand that we are living in scary and trying times, but we cannot forget about the homeless in our community. They NEED us,” the post stated. “Our mission is to compassionately provide a safe place to meet the basic human needs of those without shelter during the winter. Without volunteers, we just cannot make that happen. Please think about volunteering with us this season if you can. Many people depend on us to be successful.”
The Hermiston Warming Station is usually located in a house on 1075 S. Highway 395, but this year is moving to the Arc of Umatilla County building at 215 W. Orchard Ave. in McKenzie Park. Francis said the larger space will allow the warming station to serve more people while maintaining 6 feet of social distancing. They will also have a separate sleeping room and restroom for those showing signs of illness or with recent contact with someone with COVID-19.
The warming station provides shelter to homeless individuals and others in need of temporary shelter each evening during the winter, usually from the week after Thanksgiving to the end of February.
For more information, visit the Hermiston Warming Station Facebook page or email firstname.lastname@example.org.