Many non-profit organizations want to wait for global warming to keep warm among the most vulnerable in their communities. Not the United Road in South West Virginia; they realize we have individuals in our community exposed to this harsh winter weather in West Virginia and they want to do something about it right now! That’s why the United Way of Southern West Virginia has partnered with several organizations in our area to give members of our community a safe place where they can get out of the elements, get warm, and get some rest.
The warm-up center, which graciously hosts the Beckley Community United Methodist Church, will not be an all-night event, but will be in harsh weather. More specifically, the heating center will be open when the temperature with wind cooling drops below 15 degrees (and that’s Fahrenheit for any of you Europeans who think you’re coming in when it’s short weather in West Virginia). The facility opens at 20:00 on these windy nights and is open until 8.00 the next morning.
Cribs will be set up so that guests can have a warm, restful night’s sleep, and if that is not enough, the facility will provide hot soup, coffee, hot chocolate as well as breakfast in the morning. Honestly, Holiday Inn Expresses does not offer facilities at this level.
The facility is open to everyone, so do not think that you or anyone you know would not qualify or be welcome in the heating center. The facility is there to help and look forward to the opportunity to support the members of our community.
One of the things that the center could use at the moment is volunteering to work in shifts. The shifts are not bad, where each volunteer is only asked to work four hours each, but are not for the faint of heart as the volunteers come in under non-ideal weather conditions and possibly work in the middle of the night. Aside from the hours and the weather, the volunteers will find that working with the heat center is an extremely rewarding experience, knowing that you were able to provide a refuge for those who had nowhere else to turn.
Thursday and Friday we saw the hard snow and cold that we have come to expect from a West Virginia winter, and with such a late start to our cold season, we can expect bad conditions well into the spring. With these forecasts in front of us, please make everyone you know aware that help is available at the Warming Center, located at 217 S. Heber St. in the center of Beckley. If you would like to volunteer or make a donation to support the Heating Center, you can do so by contacting the United Way of Southern West Virginia at 304-253-2111. They can also be visited at 110 Croft St., Beckley WV 25801, or you can email them at email@example.com.