Warming Station effort moves ahead

<p>Hermiston Warming Station Steering Committee members Stacey Siebrasse, Carol Johnson and Dan Jeffery-Hoague  hold up blankets donated by CSEPP for the Hermiston Warming Station.</p>

One church has stepped up to take the first week of Hermiston’s Warming Station.

Hermiston Church of the Nazarene will host the Hermiston Warming Station for one week per month beginning the week of Dec. 4. The church will open its doors at 6:30 p.m. and close at 6:30 a.m. on all nights the temperature is expected to drop below freezing.

“The warming station is basically an emergency center to give shelter on freezing nights for people who would normally be outside,” volunteer Carol Johnson said.

Johnson is a member of the Home for Hope Coalition, a group that has made warming stations a topic of discussion in Umatilla County. A warming station opened in Pendleton on Nov. 15, but unlike Pendleton, where a structure has been set aside as a warming station, the Hermiston station will rotate through donated facilities.

Host sites, however, must pass inspection by the fire marshal as well as other safety inspections.

In addition to seeking additional host sites for the warming station, organizers are looking for people willing to help man the station, calling volunteers the “lifeblood” of the effort. Two trained volunteers must be on hand at all times the station is operating. “The volunteers basically make sure it remains a safe place,” Johnson said. “They must stay awake the entire night, but they can take shifts.”

Anyone interested in serving as a volunteer must complete an application, pass a background check and attend a volunteer training. The first volunteer training session will take place from 2-4 p.m. Nov. 27.

Church of the Nazarene’s announcement was one bit of good news for the Hermiston Warming Station Steering Committee. The group has also received donation of blankets from the Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program.

Good Shepherd Medical Center, Kay C’s Art & Collectibles and Hermiston MicroMart donated items or financial support for the service, but organizers say donations are still needed, especially additional hosting sites.

For more information on the Hermiston Warming Station Steering Committee, contact Carol Jeffery-Hoague at WarmingStation@gmail.com or by phone at 541-720-4295.

For information about the volunteer training, contact Stacey Siebrasse, pastor of Grace and Mercy Lutheran Church, by emailing her at stacey.siebrasse@gmail.com or by calling her at 541-571-9477.

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