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Warming Center to Open for 12th, 13th Nights This Season

Salvation Army at Chestnut and Kansas is helping people stay warm. Credit- Shane Franklin
Shane Franklin / KSMU
Salvation Army at Chestnut and Kansas is helping people stay warm. Credit- Shane Franklin

As the frigid weather continues, the Springfield Salvation Army says it plans to again open its Emergency Overnight Warming Center Tuesday and Wednesday overnight.

Local residents in need are encouraged to come to the center at 1707 West Chestnut Expressway, which opens from 7:00 p.m. to 7:30 a.m.

Mandy Long is a spokesperson for the Salvation Army.

“So far this season we have served over 160 unduplicated individuals over 11 nights,” Long said.

The Warming Center first opened this season in November when the region experienced a cold spell prior to Thanksgiving. The center opens when the National Weather Service predicts the wind chill will reach 14 degrees or below.

This year’s occupancy at the Warming Center is on pace for fewer than the previous season, when the area experienced a colder than usual winter. That resulted in 510 unduplicated individuals visiting the shelter over 35 nights.

The program does need volunteers to operate, Long says, noting that it requires around-the-clock monitoring.

“So we need individuals that are willing to work overnight sometimes that can basically just monitor the building, make sure everyone’s safe and secure, take care of any unexpected needs.”

She adds there is a training program for volunteers that are interested.  

Long reminds citizens that the Salvation Army’s lobby is open during the normal business day, which runs from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

“We do have our Frontline feeding program, which is at our Harbor House [providing] hot meals. So a lot of individuals actually use that service as well.”

Long predicts between 60 and 65 people will utilize the Warming Center Tuesday night, and says the numbers tend to increase when the facility is open on consecutive nights.