CHARLESTON, WV (WOWK) — With overnight temperatures expected to drop below 20-degrees Thursday and Friday night – – the City of Charleston is planning to open a warming center for those in need.
The chairs and tables had arrived Wednesday and come Thursday evening, the gym at the Salvation Army will be full of people and cots.
The gym is a Boys & Girls Club but since COVID-19 hit, the children have been away, the space, however, is still being used for a good purpose.
“Our purpose is the same, just to make sure no one freezes to death out there,” said Margaret O’Neal, president of the United Way of Central West Virginia.
O’Neal says usually up to 100 people stay at the warming centers when they’re open.
“People are just pretty grateful to have a safe place to sleep, we have wonderful churches that are going to provide dinner both nights so you know they’re pretty appreciative to have an opportunity to get a warm meal and a safe place to stay.”
This year because of the pandemic, they have to limit the number of people who stay to 40.
In the past two years, O’Neal says they’ve seen an increase in the number of women.
“We want to make sure people know that it’s open and that they’re safe here. People can come in and out; that’s a concern that a lot of people have is if they come in to stay warm, that they have to stay all night,” said O’Neal.