The warming center provides vital access to warmth and shelter

BECKLEY, WV (WVNS) – The first week of the Beckley Community United Methodist Church Warming Center brought warmth and shelter to those who may have had no other choice.

The shelter opens when the temperature drops below 15 degrees, and when two winter storms hit the area in a week, access to heat can save lives.

“The potential is that someone could freeze to death if they were outside in this weather or if they suffered from frostbite or hypothermia, so having this resource available is essential,” said Trena Dacal, Executive Director of United Way of Southern West Virginia.

The cost of heating is expected to increase by up to 50 percent this winter, following a nationwide trend of rising costs and inflation. This can make access to heat when it’s needed even more difficult for low-income families and Dacal said this results in an increased need in the community for the heated shelter this winter.

“It’s available to anyone who needs to get out of the elements,” Dacal said. “Whether they’re homeless or living at home and having trouble with the heating, or maybe by fluke their oven has gone out, for whatever reason if they have. need to find a warm, safe place that will be open. “

For Dacal, meeting the need for shelter in the community is a collaborative partnership between the town of Beckley, local first responders and community leaders. She hopes the heated shelter will continue to save Beckley’s lives.

“If even one person was able to get out of the cold, we would call it a success, which is a bit of a stretch because we hate that people need to use this type of resource, but we are very proud and happy to being able to collaborate with the people who are successful and having it available as a resource, ”said Dacal.

The boiler room will be open on Friday January 7, 2022, from 8:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. on Saturday January 8, 2022.

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