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Cold weather shelters give warmth to those in need

SNOHOMISH COUNTY — For most people, hustling from the car to the house to the store to the office, the winter chill is a momentary discomfort. But for the people who have no homes, no cars, no warm workplaces, an emergency shelter can be the only thing between them and a night-long hike on a quest to stay warm.
There are four area shelters open this season to keep people safe and toasty, but they all require scarce resources to operate.

At the Snohomish Evangelical Free Church, at 210 Ave. B, the doors open on nights when the weather will be below 35 degrees. The shelter opens at 8 p.m. and the doors are locked at 10 p.m. It operates through Feb. 28.
“We provide a simple meal in the evening and some snacks for clients to take with them. We also try to provide what we can to make the shelter a safe environment,” said pastor Jeff Sickles.
This year, they’ve seen up to nine guests a night, people from a wide variety of backgrounds, Sickles said.
It can always use more volunteers. Volunteers receive training from the Snohomish County Medical Reserve Corps. Financial donations are also always appreciated.
For more information on using or helping the shelter, visit 

The Monroe Cold Weather Shelter at New Hope Fellowship, 1012 W. Main St., is open through March 15 on any night where the temperature is forecast to be 32 degrees or below.  Doors open at 8 p.m., lock at 10 p.m. and close at 8 a.m.
The shelter is run by nonprofit Take the Next Step. “We are seeing an increase in guests over 60,” said community outreach coordinator Sarah Lunstrum. At least two-thirds of guests are seniors.
The Monroe shelter serves about eight people per night, said shelter director Mike Lorio.
“I believe where we become a life-saving resource isn’t necessarily with the chronically homeless, but with those who find themselves in the middle of a life change and don’t know what to do,” Lorio said.
The shelter also offers foods clients can prepare, such as noodle cups, oatmeal and granola bars.
“We always need more volunteers, desperately,” Lunstrum said. They’re also in need of hand warmers, socks, lip balm, gloves and shelf-stable foods.
For more information on using or helping the shelter, visit

At the Salvation Army extreme weather shelter at 2525 Rucker Ave., everyone is welcome when the weather is expected to be below 33 degrees for more than four hours. The shelter is open from 8 p.m. to 7 a.m. and people need to arrive by 10 p.m. It operates through the end of March.
“We have dinner, breakfast and there are snacks for people spending the night,” said officer Andrea Reedy.
Helpers are in short supply. Volunteers are needed to see to the dozens of guests who fill the halls each night. “We’re at maximum capacity every time we open. There are at least 50 people, sometimes we squeeze them into the hallways,” Reedy said.
The clients are often regulars, people of all ages from nearly 20 to nearly 70, Reedy said.
Keeping all those people warm, even after they leave, is a challenge. The shelter needs hand warmers and warm jackets and pants. As for socks, they’re set. Reedy said they recently received a huge donation.
For more information on using or helping the shelter, visit
At Everett Gospel Mission men’s center, the halls overflow when 18 cold weather beds are added to their normal 140 shelter beds, and socks are tops on the wish list.
“We always can use socks, hand warmers, towels, pillows are in great need … as far as food donations, meat is always good, whether it’s chicken, ham or turkey,”
mission CEO Sylvia Anderson said.
It opens anytime the weather will be below 33 degrees. People who want a bed need to show up by 4 p.m.
“Absolutely anyone can come in and have lunch or dinner,” Anderson added. “You don’t have to be staying with us to have lunch and dinner.”
The 3711 Smith Ave. shelter serves men, and the 5126 S. Second Ave. shelter has cold weather beds for women.
For more information on using or helping the shelter, go to the website


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