Volunteers needed for Greater Falls Warming Shelter

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NORTH WALPOLE, N.H. — Greater Falls Warming Shelter will begin its ninth season of operation Wednesday, Nov. 15, when the 10-bed shelter opens again at 23 Church St.

"We are already aware of six people who are in need of shelter," said GFWS Chair Louise Luring. "If weather predictions are correct, it will be a long, hard, snowy winter that will drive more people to our doors."

The shelter provides a warm, safe overnight shelter during the winter months for those in need, with a staff of volunteers and two paid part-time coordinators. Volunteers serve in two-person shifts from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. and 1 to 7 a.m. Other volunteers bring in supper each night.

Since it opened in 2009, the shelter has harbored 286 individuals, mostly folks with ties to the local community who have insecure housing because of medical issues, job loss, family problems, domestic violence, addiction, poverty or any number of other issues.

"We work on referring our guests to social service agencies that can help them find housing as soon as possible, including Our Place Drop-in Center, SEVCA, Pathways and veterans programs, as well as help them with other issues," Luring said. "However, housing is very tight all over Vermont."

Luring said the great need is for volunteers for the two shifts. A training will be held Sunday, Nov. 12 at 4 p.m. at the shelter, and anyone interested should contact shelter coordinator Deborah Clark at 603-723-4843 or e-mail the shelter at gfwarmingshelter@gmail.com.

There is also a need for volunteers to help set up the shelter on Saturday, Nov. 4, at 10 a.m.

"Just show up, and we will put you to work," said Luring.

The shelter is funded in part by a Housing Opportunity Program grant from the Office of Economic Opportunity, a grant from the Bishop deGoesbriand Appeal for Human Advancement, and donations from individuals and organizations and corporations such as the Bellows Falls Rotary Club, the Bellows Falls Women's Club, Chroma Technology, Sonnax, Cota & Cota, Durand Ford/Toyota, Silver Forest of Vermont, the Savings Bank of Walpole and the Greater Falls Pharmacy.

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