As temperatures dip down, we turn up our heat. We eat warm foods like soup, and we pile on the sweaters. Most of us love this season and the nostalgia it brings; the promise of family get togethers, too much food, and cute boots. For many, though, this season is met with fear and shame. Fear for how they will stay warm without a roof over their head; shame for feeling they have failed their families and themselves, for being unable to participate in the 'hustle and bustle' of the holiday season.
Working at the Serve Moses Lake office, I am continually reminded of how many people do truly care for those in need and desire to give of themselves. Daily I receive calls asking about ways to serve food on Thanksgiving to local families in need, or how to 'adopt' a family at Christmas time to help provide gifts. As great and overwhelming the need is in our community, so is the outpouring of love that comes from the hearts of so many.
Homelessness is a particular issue that has become close to our hearts and minds. Each year we seem to see more and more people facing the cold weather without housing. Many of us know or have to come to befriend some of these most vulnerable folks, and so the issue presses on us deeper.
"But what could I possibly do to help? I feel like anything I can do is no more than a drop in the bucket with how large the need is."
These are common sentiments, but the truth is, there is a lot that we can do to help in very real and tangible ways. We partner closely with the Grant County Homeless Taskforce to address this issue up close. As a result, this is the 2nd year we will be opening the Moses Lake Warming Center.
The center will be located at 410 W 3rd Ave (the old Boys and Girls Club), Moses Lake. It will be operating from 8pm-6am daily beginning Thursday, December 1st, and continuing through the winter's coldest months. There are no beds, it is not a sleeping facility, simply a place to warm up and be fed a hot meal. This is a critical service to our city's homeless population. Here is how you can help:
1. Hygiene Packs
Put together Hygiene Packs to distribute to those in need. Here are instructions for what goes into a hygiene pack and how to put them together. Completed packs can be dropped off at the Serve Moses Lake office. This is a great little service project that can be done by small groups or families.
Volunteer your time to take on a shift at the warming center. If this interests you, but also overwhelms you, there are training/observing opportunities every Sunday at 7pm. The training lasts one hour (until the center opens at 8pm) and new volunteers can then stay and just observe what the job is like without having the responsibility. If interested, please contact Tim Cloyd 764-8276 or Sheila Chilson 766-8971 for more information.
3. Prepare and serve meals at the warming center
Meals DO NOT need to be prepared in a commercial kitchen or one with a health permit. Almost any church kitchen would meet Health District regulations for preparing meals in this capacity! Churches, families, or individuals can sign up to prepare meals for the center. Great meal ideas are soups or sandwiches, but groups can make meals of their choosing. We ask that volunteers prepare their meal for 10 people and plan to be at the center from 8pm-10pm for set up, serving, and clean up. Full details on volunteer meal service can be found here.
As always, there is also the need for funding to keep this vital program running. Make a cash donation to the Grant County Homeless Taskforce. This is the group responsible for overseeing how local dollars are spent on helping homeless, organizing the warming center, completing the annual Point-In-Time Homeless Count, and various other tasks related to helping the homeless. Click here to download the Cash Donation Form.