The Paducah Warming-Cooling Center needs more volunteers

Temperature changes this winter are like a roller coaster. We had snow on the ground with temperatures in the teens last weekend, and now we’re approaching the 60s this weekend.

Through all these ups and downs, the Paducah Warming-Cooling Center stays open anytime temperatures go below 40 degrees, like Wednesday night. The center needs your help now in these last weeks of winter.

The center could use more volunteers. Scheduling Coordinator Holly Long is grateful for the seven families they’ve helped find homes for this year, but worries about dozens of others without heat relying on the center.

“It’s a challenge every week to find the people to fill 42 spots every week without burning out your regulars,” Long said.

The hardest volunteer shift to fill of the three is 10:30 p.m. to 4:30 a.m. She says lots of spots stay blank, and they only need two people per shift. The other shifts are 5:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., and 4:30 p.m. to 8 a.m. She says at this time only seven churches or social organizations are involved.

"We’ve got about five weeks left in the warming center this season, and I think it would just be a great opportunity for churches and organizations to grab six people and host a day. And take that experience back to their church organization. So, they can really commit next year to serve more to help fill these spots,” Long said.

In addition to a meal, the warming center offers an opportunity to shower and a place to do you laundry for free.

It’s a real need in this community. We are keeping people alive, safe, and warm when it’s cold,” Long said.

Until a month ago, Daisy and Mark Coward relied on the Paducah Warming-Cooling Center for a place to sleep instead of out in the cold.

“Going from living on the road into a tent, sleeping in the snow and then the center offering a place to sleep out of the snow,” Daisy said.

The warming center helped them find a job, transportation, and a place to live.

“We can put on a light, we can turn our water on, and we can answer to a landlord that we didn’t have,” Daisy said.

Daisy says the warming center also helped her fight her alcoholism and give her the support to be positive and turn her life around.

“If you have a problem, they listen to you, will take you in under their wing, and direct you in the right direction,” Daisy said.

In addition to volunteers, the warming center could use donations to buy more cots. Each cot costs $189. They currently have 26 and would like to have 40. They also always need more toiletry items.

The warming center and Community Kitchen are under the same umbrella of organizations but do not share donations. Anything that goes to Community Kitchen, like the Empty Bowls Project on Saturday, does not transfer to the warming center.

To volunteer, you can contact Scheduling Coordinator Holly Long at 270-217-9096. The Paducah Warming-Cooling Center is located at the Community Kitchen, 1237 Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. Contact the Community Kitchen at 270-575-3400 if you would like to donate, and say it’s for the warming center.

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