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Homeless Shelters across Central Coast ask for volunteers

Shelters across the Central Coast are asking for help as they gear up to open warming centers Friday when temperatures are forecast to drop below 40 degrees.

5Cities Homeless Coalition in Grover Beach had to close on Christmas Eve because it didn’t have enough volunteers to remain open. The agency is desperately seeking helpers for this weekend as well as the remainder of the winter and are asking the community to lend a helping hand.

” The only way we can continue to do this is the community support that we receive and continue to receive,” said 5Cities Homeless Coalition Executive Director Janna Nichols.

The Coalition will open shelter doors at Hillside Church in Grover Beach on Friday and Saturday night.

” Usually what we ask people to do is help serve a meal, maybe hand out dry clothing, monitor guest, talk with them interact with them,” said Nichols.

The shelter provides blankets, warm clothes, a cot, and breakfast the following morning.

Another shelter opening due to the cold conditions is the Freedom Warming Center.

That agency will provide shelter at two Santa Barbara County locations: the Santa Maria Salvation Army in Santa Maria, and Peace Lutheran Church in Lompoc. Doors will open Friday night at 6:00.

” The Freedom Warming Center for about 10 years now has been providing winter services to homeless individuals when weather conditions can be challenging,” said Freedom Warming Center Director Kathy Hayes.

Freedom Center’s origins date back to a well known and liked homeless man in Santa Barbra named Freedom, who died in cold conditions without a warm place to go. The organization works every winter in hopes of preventing such tragedy from ever happening again.

Agencies in both Santa Barbara and San Luis Obispo Counties are in need of volunteers and hope to see participation increase. Volunteers are asked to sign up so they can be given advance notice on when plans call for a shelter to be opened.

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