Volunteers open up a warming shelter in Newberg for those trying to stay warm despite frigid temperatures

With overnight temperatures expected to dip below freezing this week, a group of volunteers have opened a warming shelter in Newberg for those in need of a warm place to stay for the night.

According to a press release from the American Red Cross, triggers for opening a warming shelter include an overnight low of below 25 degrees, with our without a wind-chill; 32 degrees with one inch of precipitation forecasted to fall overnight and an accumulation of one or more inches of snow sticking to the ground. In that eventuality, a warming shelter will remain open until the cold snap subsides.

The warming shelter in Newberg is completely run by volunteers. Newberg City Councilor, Denise Bacon, said that volunteers are trained through the American Red Cross. Managers of the shelter are on hand and remain awake all night, with at least two people volunteering at one time to provide shelter guests with the most secure option of a place to stay.

“It’s a safe, warm, place with no judgment,” Bacon said. “A lot of us could be in that place with just one bad day. It’s important to understand that if your house doesn’t have heat, or you want a warm place to take your kids, or you are sleeping in your car, or are homeless, the shelter is there.”

The shelter offers dinner on nights that community meals are not available, along with coffee and breakfast in the morning.

“Our shelters have one narrow mission, to keep people from freezing to death overnight,” Bacon said.

Bacon and volunteer partner Steve Meagher credit the ability to have a warming shelter to the Newberg-Dundee Police Department and dispatch center, Newberg Fire Department and Zion Lutheran church for allowing the shelter to be held at the church.

The shelter will be open as long as temperatures remain low. Shelter hours are from 8 p.m. to 8 a.m at Zion Lutheran Church, 301 South River Street. For more information, call the Zion Lutheran Shelter line at 971-832-9408.

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