As Erie’s frigid temperatures continue to drop throughout the night, the need for warm place to stay rises. In light of this, St. Joseph Bread of Life Shelter is opening its doors for the winter season.
For Erie’s homeless population, sub-freezing temperatures can be dangerous and even an obstacle to finding a place to stay during the night, the volunteers at St. Joseph are hard at work to make arrangements possible.
Bitter cold temperatures finally making their way to Erie, leaving hundreds of homeless people facing dangerous conditions. For guests staying overnight at St. Joseph’s, it’s nice to know they have this opportunity.
“It’s a nice, warm place to stay and they’re beautiful people. It’s better than my tent.” said Florida Thompson, a guest at St. Joseph’s Warming Center.
The shelter provides a place for more than 70 guests to eat and sleep all under a warm roof. St. Joseph volunteers say it’s important to keep people in Erie warm and safe. For other volunteers, it’s about returning kindness to their neighbors.
Karen Ginnamore, a volunteer at the shelter, says that serving is her passion.
“I was taken care of by other people because I was always sick. It’s my turn to pay it forward.” Ginnamore said.
Guests at the shelter are provided with a free dinner and bedding for the night, which are donated by parishoners and local organizations. Volunteers say it’s more than just dedicating their time. It’s about creating a relationship and giving a helping hand to those in need.
“The people that we’ve served here over the years, some of them four and six years ago. When they see me downtown they shout, run and give me a hug, that’s how close the connection is.” said Nancy Murray, director of ministry.
Other facilities including the Mental Health Association and The Upper Room also keep their facilities open overnight when temperatures drop to these extreme digits