Warming shelters open amid dangerously low temperatures

Many centers will remain open through the holiday weekend

The dangerous temperatures have arrived and will remain at least through the holiday weekend – that’s why warming shelters across our area are preparing for visitors.

The Rescue Mission of Roanoke has its white flag out, which means anyone, even those with a suspension, are welcome.

“We also are preparing by making sure we have plenty of volunteers, plenty of staff because we need people,” said Kevin Berry, Rescue Mission of Roanoke’s Director of Marketing and Communications.

Roanoke County officials said they also plan to open a warming shelter on Saturday at South County Library from 11:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m. at 6303 Merriman Road.

In Pulaski County, emergency management opened the central gym. It’s been transformed into a warming shelter for about eight to ten people, and more if needed. They also have cots available for those who want to sleep.

“It will cover basically the homeless population here in town, along with power outages and if people need a place to warm up and perhaps charge their cell phones,” said Richard Kos, with Pulaski County Emergency Management.

In the Hill City, Lynchburg’s Department of Human Services is partnering with the Salvation Army to open a warming center. The shelter will provide overflow care in the Salvation Army gym on Park Avenue through Monday at 8 a.m.

During this time, some of these locations, like the Rescue Mission of Roanoke, could use any available helping hands.

“We certainly need more volunteers and we need all the help we can get so if you’re looking to volunteer and do something nice during this cold weather, give us a call,” added Berry.

Community leaders across Southwest and Central Virginia are getting the word out that if you need help, there are places to go.

About the Author:

Alyssa Rae grew up in Roanoke and graduated from Virginia Tech. An avid sports fan, she spent her first 8 years in TV as a sports anchor and reporter.