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Generous donation helps Rochester Community Warming Center

Ron and Dianne Yanish are pledging to give $100,000 to the 2020 Rochester Cares Campaign.

Posted: Jan 13, 2020 6:05 PM

ROCHESTER, Minn. - A local couple is making a generous donation to a campaign that funds a new warming center.

Ron and Dianne Yanish are pledging to give $100,000 to the 2020 Rochester Cares Campaign. That money will fund the continued operation of the Rochester Community Warming Center.

Michael Gwanjaye is the center's coordinator and says without the community, there would be no warming center.

"It means the world to the people who care about the homeless and it means the world to the guests who come in here every cold night," Gwanjaye said. "It means a lot to the community because we won't be having people sleeping in the sky way or wandering around the street when it's very cold."

Gwanjaye says the generosity shouldn't stop there.

This past December, we showed you the push for volunteers at the warming center.

They had a goal of signing 200 people up, which they did. Now, they just need those volunteers to perform.

"We need two volunteers at least each shift to keep this place open," Gwanjaye said. "If we have no volunteer turning up, then we'll send our guests out because we can't let one person be in this place."

In addition to money and time, they also need materials. Things including toiletries and warm winter gear are helpful for the guests.

The space fits up to 30 people and provides them a place to sleep, shower, and wash their clothes.

It's continued support that will keep the warming center open.

"We intend to keep this place open," Gwanjaye said. "We can only keep it open if the community is being supportive and offering their time as volunteers and those who keep the donations coming."

The Rochester Community Warming Center is open every night through March. Guest check-in begins at 9:00 p.m.

If you'd like to be a volunteer, there's a training session every Thursday at 6:00 p.m.

Donations are accepted every Thursday from 4:00 to 6:00 p.m.

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