Community

Marysville cold weather shelter receives first guest on opening night

MARYSVILLE — The cold weather shelter at the Damascus Road Church in Marysville received its first guest during its opening night, from 8 p.m. on Dec. 2 to 7 a.m. on Dec. 3.

Jason Brower, the service and missions deacon for the Damascus Road Church, noted that the shelter would be open every night during the week, from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m., but added that the shelter still needs churches to partner in providing volunteers for Wednesday evenings. He praised Pastor Victor Rodriguez and his fellow members of the Marysville Free Methodist Church for their able staffing of the shelter's inauguration.

"It was exciting to see the cold weather shelter open up, even with the Seahawks playing on national TV," Rodriguez said. "Several volunteers mentioned they were DVRing the game, and didn't want any game updates."

More than 20 volunteers staffed the shelter during its intake period of 8-9:30 p.m., most of whom came from the Marysville Free Methodist Church.

"It was great to see so many volunteers come out to get some on-the-job training," Rodriguez said. "As we met folks from other churches, you could feel the camaraderie grow, as we worked together on this initiative."

Even before their guest registration opened, the crew of 20-plus volunteers helped set up the shelter from 7-8 p.m. Rodriguez credited Marysville Police with helping to get the word out about the shelter, and with sending several officers over to tour the shelter around 9:30 p.m.

"We had homemade soup, which was a delicious treat," Rodriguez said. "The planning paid off, as things ran smoothly."

If the cold weather shelter hadn't been open that evening, Rodriguez reported that its first guest would have slept in his car that night. Instead, not only did the shelter provide him with a warm, safe place to sleep, insulated from the freezing temperatures outside, but shelter volunteers also served him a hot dinner and breakfast.

"He was very appreciative of the shelter," Rodriguez said. "Even with only one guest, it was gratifying to see the shelter open up, after about a year of planning and working to get everything in place. It's a joy, in keeping with the spirit of Christ and Christmas, to see so many people in our wonderful Marysville community coming together, to share compassion in this tangible way. We look forward to seeing a need met in our city, so that anyone who needs to get out of freezing weather for a night of shelter can find it here."

Rodriguez praised Brower and Jon Baylor, another member of the Damascus Road Church who's helping to coordinate the cold weather shelter, for the parts they've played in making it possible. As for Baylor, he expects the shelter will serve many more people in need this winter.

"At about 7:30 a.m. [on Dec. 3], I heard a homeless man tap on the window as I was getting ready to lock up," Baylor said. "He asked about the shelter, and whether it would be open every night at the same place. I told him that we would be open, at the Damascus Road Church, every night the temperature hit freezing. He was very excited, and told me he would be there that night, along with some other people. He said he was going to spread the word."

The Marysville cold weather shelter is open at the Damascus Road Church, located at 1048 State Ave., from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. when nighttime temperatures are 32 degrees or colder. Dinner is served and admission is allowed until 9:30 p.m., after which the shelter locks down, with breakfast following from 6-7 a.m.

Space at the shelter is limited to 24 spots. For more information, call 360-659-7117, or email Brower at jbrowerus@yahoo.com or Baylor at jonbaylor67@hotmail.com.

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