Cold weather is here and that makes life on the streets hard. The Duluth Warming Center opens its doors to the homeless and people who live on the street in the hopes of giving them somewhere safe to be during the night and a little warmth as well.

CHUM, who operates the warming center, is looking for volunteers to help with some cleaning, coffee distribution, some limited companionship for some of the homeless who need someone to listen or just to interact with, so compassion is needed, some boundaries, and assist with clothing, blanket, or personal hygiene supplies to be distributed.

According to details shared by St. Louis County, staff members of CHUM will always be present at the Warming Center while it's open.  However, at least two volunteers are needed every evening - from approximately 7:30 PM to 10:00 PM and then again in the morning, from approximately 7:00 AM until 9:00 AM.

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One thing to remember many of the warming center's guests live with high barriers to housing and shelter, including untreated mental illness and substance abuse disorder it will need someone who can meet these challenges and like I said before some compassion.

The Warming Center organized by CHUM will be open nightly - November 1 through April 1 "as long as there are adequate staffing levels".  Initially, the Warming Center will be located at the Rainbow Center in downtown Duluth:  211 North 3rd Avenue East.  Once renovations are finished at the new site in Lincoln Park, it will move to that location.

While CHUM takes the organizational lead on the project, the Warming Center is a collaboration with Loaves & Fishes, the City of Duluth, St. Louis County, and the Duluth HRA. Keep in mind there is a CHUM employee there if you would like to volunteer and are afraid of being alone.

To sign up to volunteer, visit the spreadsheet established on the Warming Center Volunteers website.  You can also find a link on the CHUM website.  Questions regarding the program or the opportunity can be directed at Joel Kilhour:  218-340-4356.

There are a few stipulations now with the pandemic, here they are:

  • Volunteer requirements:
  • Must be over 18
  • Must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and wear a mask when at the
  • Warming Center
  • Must take part in a volunteer orientation
  • Weekly commitment preferred

Also, the warming center does need some donations for people that visit. Many times they do not have warm clothing to make it in the cold weather. Here are some things they are looking for at CHUM or the warming house. With the weather this past week at 0 degrees and -15 wind chills, it is very easy to succumb to frostbite and hypothermia from extended periods in the cold weather making this a life or death situation for many who are unsheltered.

  • Heavy winter gloves
  • Hand warmers
  • Heavy winter jackets
  • Heavy winter boots
  • Thick hats
  • Thick socks
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In addition to the volunteer of man-hours, the Warming Center also relies on donations just for the warming center. granola bars or cereal bars and coffee are most needed at the center and would be appreciated if you want to drop some off.

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If you're interested in making a donation, they can be brought to the Dorothy Day House:  1712 Jefferson Street in Duluth between 12 Noon and 7:00 PM Monday through Saturday, or to CHUM: 102 West 2nd Street, Duluth - between 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM Monday through Friday.

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