With winter quickly approaching, preparations are underway to again offer a warming center to ensure a safe nighttime space for people experiencing homelessness in Duluth. Organizers are seeking volunteers and donations now in order to be ready when the first cold night arrives.

The warming center is open nightly from Nov. 1 to April 1, provided there is adequate staffing. CHUM staff will always be present when the warming center is open; however, at least two volunteers are needed from 7:30-10 p.m. and from 7-9 a.m.

Volunteers help with a variety of duties including cleanup, setup, serving coffee and distribution of clothing and hygiene supplies. Volunteer opportunities are also available when the building is not open to guests, including for sorting donations and cleaning.

Volunteers must be at least 18 years old and fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Because many of the warming center's guests live with high barriers to housing and shelter, including untreated mental illness and substance use disorder, volunteers should also have compassion, healthy boundaries and an ability to adapt to changing needs. Sign up to volunteer at chumduluth.org/warmingcentervolunteers.htm. For questions about volunteering, contact Joel Kilgour at 218-340-4356.

The Warming Center will initially be located at the Rainbow Center, 211 N. Third Ave. E., but will move to a new, permanent location in Lincoln Park once renovations at the new site are complete. The warming center is a collaboration between CHUM, Loaves & Fishes, the city of Duluth, St. Louis County and the Duluth Housing and Redevelopment Authority.

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In addition to volunteers, the warming center also relies on donations of a variety of supplies in order to operate. Supplies needed include socks (cotton and thermal, adult sizes); men’s and women’s underwear (new); winter coats, hats, gloves and mittens in adult sizes; hand warmers and foot warmers; backpacks, reusable bags, granola bars and coffee.

Donations can be brought to Dorothy Day House, 1712 Jefferson St., between noon and 7 p.m., Monday-Saturday, or to CHUM, 102 W. Second St., between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday-Friday.