FECWS reopens tonight, Feb. 21

People needing a warm, safe place can find shelter this week

Feb. 21, 2022 — The changing weather patterns in the Florence area continue as forecasts for the remainder of the week indicate it will be considerably colder with rain as the weekend approaches.

This shift to colder days and nights is prompting the Florence Emergency Cold Weather Shelter (FECWS) to reopen Monday night, Feb. 21, for a few days this week as nighttime temperatures are expected to be in the mid 20s. FECWS is an overnight community shelter that opens on nights when the temperature drops below freezing. It is located on the north end of Florence on Highway 101 across from The Sand Ranch.

The shelter opened at 5 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 21, and will remain so through Friday, Feb. 25, at 10 a.m.

“Due to the extreme change in the weather, the shelter will open tonight,” said Pat Burke, one of the coordinators of the FECWS, on Monday. “We'll be open through each 24-hour cycle. What we need from our amazing volunteers are drivers  from 5 to 6 p.m., to pick up guests at our flag locations at the Siuslaw Public Library, Safeway bus kiosk, Linda's at 38th and 101 and Fred Meyer. More drivers will be needed on Friday, Feb. 25, from 9 to 10 a.m., to ferry guests back to town.”

FECWS uses individual Pallet shelters, each with power and heat, that people can use.

According to Burke, while many tasks at the FECWS are tackled by the clients served at the shelter, some require a community member to oversee the work.

“We are fortunate that many of the people who stay at the shelter are more than willing to pitch in where needed. Before, we used outside volunteers for overnight supervision. A number of our guests are willing to serve as supervisors and have proven capable to deal with weather events — like wind — and obstreperous guests who jeopardize the comfort of all,” Burke stated.

Other duties for volunteers include intake, assignment of cabins, distribution of bedding and escorting guests to their assigned locations. Cooks are also needed to make breakfasts for serving at 8 a.m., and some help is needed with dinner on Thursday, to be served at 6 p.m.

“After the shelter closes, we'll give the cabins three days to de-gas and then we'll need volunteers who will do laundry,” Burke said. “Thank you all for the massive amount of washing from our last opening that's now clean and ready for our open.”

Volunteers also wiped down and swept out the cabins, to get them “ready for the next dangerous weather,” Burke added.

People can view photos and learn more online at www.facebook.com/FECWS/.

“I know that, when I get thanked or praised by our guests, they're actually thanking all of us for our caring and kindness,” Burke said. “I make sure that each guest knows that they are the beneficiaries of a very loving community. And I sure couldn't do it by myself. I thank each and every one of you.”

For more information, contact Burke at 541-590-3598, 541-590-0652 or [email protected]

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