EUGENE, Ore. — The winter season is just around the corner, and temperatures are getting lower and lower. Wednesday, the Egan Warming Center is training volunteers for its mission to keep the homeless warm.
Training kicks off at the Hosea Youth Site on Monroe Street. The center was inspired by homeless veteran Major Thomas Egan who froze to death during a cold spell in 2008. Ever since then, the Egan Warming Center has made it its mission to provide shelter for the homeless during the winter season, whenever temperatures drop below 30 degrees.
The program is in its fifth year and it’s still looking for more volunteers, especially for the morning and overnight shifts.
“It’s challenging work because the population we serve is homeless and most of the homeless that live in downtown have mental issues and substance abuse issues, so it takes a strong person to deal with them,” says Egan Warming Center Program Director Doug Bales.
There are five shelter sites needing volunteers. Duties will include handing out blankets, serving food and interacting with the guests. Funding for the program comes from the county and donations.
First-time volunteers must go through the training first because of the nature of the challenging work. Wednesday’s training runs from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. If you can’t make it, there are more opportunities throughout the week. For a list of locations and times, click here.