PIQUA — This winter, there will be no cold shelter available at the Bethany Center unless more volunteers commit to helping.
“We’re searching constantly, and we’re calling all week long for help,” Wilma Earls, director of the Bethany Center, said about what itt has been like trying to run their cold shelter in the past. “It’s just getting too hard.”
The Bethany Center, located at 339 South St., has had a cold shelter open during the cold months for around three years, but the lack of volunteers has put a strain on the daily workers of the Bethany Center who struggle to find people willing to stay overnight with those in need at the cold shelter.
Last year, the shelter helped at least six people who were homeless and in need of a place stay warm at night. Earls said that she is sure people in the community know or see those in need.
“They sleep in the woods on the bike path,” Earls said. “They have to know that there’s people on the streets that are homeless.”
Earls also said that it is safe for people to be volunteers and that they should not be afraid to do so.
“There’s going to be two people at all times,” Earls said. “We haven’t had a problem … I’m not afraid.”
Guests of the cold shelter also have list of rules that they are to abide by, which they are provided and they sign stating that they understand. The guests of the shelter usually enter between 8-9 p.m. The guests are allowed to leave after 9 p.m., but they are not allowed to re-enter the cold shelter. Other rules include no alcohol or illegal substances, no weapons, no smoking, no discriminatory or racial remarks, no sexual harassment, no threats of violence, and so on.
Earls has asked the community to consider volunteering for the cold shelter. Earls wants enough people to sign up for certain nights so that they only have to serve once a month. Unless they get enough people to commit to serving, the Bethany Center will not have a cold shelter this winter.
Those interested in volunteering or who would like to learn more can contact the Bethany Center at (937) 615-9762, Earls at (937) 773-0938, or Cathy at (937) 773-4377.
Reach Sam Wildow at [email protected] or (937) 451-3336