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City of Charleston Seeking Volunteers to Assist at Warming Center

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From the City of Charleston:

Volunteers are needed to help the city of Charleston operate a warming center, which will offer individuals who are homeless a place to spend the night during inclement weather this winter.

The warming center at the Arthur W. Christopher Community Center, at 265 Fishburne Street, will operate on cold nights from November until March and will provide cots, pillows, blankets, dinner, and breakfast.

Why it matters:

Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, many locations that have operated as warming shelters in the past are unable do so this winter. But, 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.

Who can volunteer:

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.

In addition, individuals 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.

For those who want to help, but cannot commit the time, financial donations are also welcome.

What volunteers need to know:

Volunteers will receive guidance and training to fill a variety of roles to support warming center operations including:

  • set up
  • registration
  • 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.

The following COVID-19 protocols will be in place for the safety of the volunteers and guests:

before entering, each individual will be asked about any COVID symptoms they are experiencing and will have their temperature checked; a separate room for isolation will be made available, if needed; and masks will be provided and required to be worn at all times.

Learn more and sign up:

Please contact Christopher Jardin (jardinc@charleston-sc.gov; 843-577-1305) to sign up or for more information.

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