NOW OPEN - The warming shelter at the Safe Harbour Society in Red Deer will open today through April 30th. Express file photo

Warming shelter opens today in Red Deer

In its fourth year, the shelter will be open daily until April 30th

The City’s warming centre will open on Nov. 1st in anticipation of the cold winter months ahead.

In its fourth year of operation, Safe Harbour’s Warming Centre will be opening its doors seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. until April 30th.

“It’s just a warm place to build relationship and have a little break from the elements. It’s vitally important to so many people who have no place else to go during the day,” said Colleen Markus, program manager of the warming centre at Safe Harbour.

She said the Centre provides a safe and warm place for people to come during the cold winter months.

“For some people that might mean staying there the entire day, but for most it means coming and going and having a place where they can just breathe and regroup,” said Markus.

She added they tend to get between 50 and 80 people come to the Centre throughout each day, and that in the first year, they were serving 120 people a day.

And the warming centre isn’t just a place to stay warm.

“There’s telephones to use, we have computers and we have staff who are just loaded with resources to help people in any way they can and point them in the right direction, to provide that support,” she said.

People can visit Safe Harbour’s web site at www.safeharboursociety.org to see what the organization’s current needs are.

“We do like to provide people with granola bars or bread and peanut butter. We have a toaster,” said Markus, adding that they accept anything that’s microwavable.

Safe Harbour also takes clothing, and usually has it donated to the main building where they distribute it to where it’s needed, which could end up being the warming centre.

“We don’t have a whole lot of storage at the warming centre, so it’s best that any clothing donations go to the main building, but this time of year we’re definitely concerned about gloves, toques, warm winter coats, hoodies and things that are going to be able to help people layer up and keep warm.”

Markus said the support from the community has been great.

“We’ve had schools come in, and the kids come in and give out homemade cookies. It’s just amazing,” she said, adding that families even come in with their children, giving each individual a bag of goodies.

Markus said they encourage anyone who wants to get involved to give Safe Harbour a call at 403-347-0181 to find out if there’s any way they can help.

carlie.connolly@reddeerexpress.com

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