ROCHESTER, Minn. - The Warming Center has been open for a little over a month now and they're averaging about 20 guests per night.
With the recent snow storm over the weekend, they were prepared to bring in extra help. Before the snow came, the Warming Center put out a desperate call to their volunteers and they ended up getting a full house of helping hands. Coordinator, Michael Gwanjaye, said overall, the feedback from their guests has been very positive. He said they're appreciative the community offers a warm place to stay.
Gwanjaye said the community has also been very supportive. "We got even staff from the county coming in to check on us," explained Gwanjaye. "In the middle of the night, we had police officers staying with us to make sure our guests are all covered. We have a lot of people calling in to just make sure we are safe and the guests are happy about the conditions and that we're not overflowing."
He said when they first opened the shelter, the volunteers were hesitant and felt uncomfortable. Now, they're doing the best they can to make sure the guests feel welcome and have a warm place to sleep and eat. "Our guests need much more when the weather is this horrible. They need some hot food, so we've been looking around," said Gwanjaye. "My night shift managers have been doing a good job making sure they find some hot food, some soup and stuff like that."
With the Warming Center being a non-profit, Gwanjaye said their only source of income is compassion. The Warming Center has a list of items it's in need of right now. To see what you can donate, you can view their website.