Warming Centers Filling Up, Some Already At Capacity


As the temperatures continue to fall, the number of people looking for a warm place to stay the night is going up.

Warming centers have opened up across Mid-Michigan following the widespread power outages from the weekend storms.

In Haslett, officials with the township worked with Haslett High School to open a 24-hour center for residents. The center officially opened Monday morning and will remain open indefinitely.

Meridian Township officials have declared a state of emergency.

"When we have over 70 percent of the residents in the township without power, then we need to proactive and make arraignements to serve our residents," said Chief Fred Cowper, Meridian Township Fire Department.

At the Trinity Church in South Lansing, Red Cross volunteers there say with more than 130 people staying at the shelter, they are at capacity.

"In the five and a half years I've been with the Red Cross I have not seen anything like this, especially in the Lansing area," said Melody Bennett, a volunteer at the shelter.

Bennett said with so many elderly and disabled people displaced by the outages, the need for supplies at the shelter is at an all-time high.

"It's a truly unique situation we've been in here," Bennett said. "We are in need of wheelchairs and mobility devices, fresh fruits and vegetable trays, Tylenol, Advil..."

The shelter is looking for donations of food, prepackaged snacks, new pillows, blankets and bottled water. Donations can be dropped off any time 24/7 at the Trinity Church, Bennett said.

But for the individuals who were able to get an open cot and a hot shower in, like Jessie Owen, she says she feel fortunate.

"They're trying to make it as homely and as comfortable as possible," she said.

Others were grateful to have a place to stay with it being so close to Christmas.

"It's a wonderful place," said Tammie Campbell. "To find out that this is here and they're willing to take us is absolutely awesome."


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