Marysville cold-weather shelter to open for homeless on Thanksgiving

MARYSVILLE – When that first freezing nip of winter fills the air and fireplace chimneys add extra warmth inside homes, volunteers at the Marysville emergency cold weather shelter are ready to share a warmth all their own with homeless people seeking refuge from the overnight chill.

The cold weather shelter housed at Damascus Road Church, 1050 State Ave. across from Marysville City Hall, opens its doors when weather is anticipated to be 32 degrees or below for four hours or more.

This season, they opened on Thanksgiving night to be available to people on the streets who had nowhere to go, despite a moderate temperature, Shelter Director Zoe Wlazlak said.

Shelter hours are 8 a.m.-7 a.m. A simple hot meal is available from 8-9:30 p.m., with hot cereal served from 6-7 a.m. before the shelter closes for the day.

Since its opening a few winters ago, Marysville churches and community groups have provided volunteers to staff the overnight facility, with training sessions held to instruct how to check people in and deal with issues that might arise, Wlazlak said.

Wlazlak said they are always seeking volunteers. She invites people interested to contact their church about participating, since the shelter strives to have involvement from all churches around the community for any given night of the week. The shelter also coordinates with Marysville’s ministerial association.

Some nights – mid-week for example – are more difficult to staff due to family and work commitments.

The shelter has benefitted from monetary donations, supplies and equipment from generous local businesses and service clubs that have helped keep the shelter prepared, Wlazlak said. The shelter has received mattresses, blankets, pillows, sheets, eating utensils, kitchen and household supplies, among other donations. She thanked the groups for all their ongoing support.

Typically, once Wlazlak determines that the shelter should open, she contacts church coordinators several days in advance who then contact team members. The shelter must be staffed by at least three adult volunteers when guests are present, including at least one man and a woman volunteer, and a designated on-site manager. Volunteers younger than 18 must be accompanies by the parent at all times.

Volunteer teams are on call. For more information, to sign up and learn about upcoming training sessions, email Wlazlak at marysvilleecws@gmail.com or call 530-913-0995. More information about the cold weather shelter is available online at http://www.marysvillecws.org or http://www.facebook.com/pg/MarysvilleEmergencyColdWeatherShelter.

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