The Winter Freeze Shelter can't open soon enough for some of the Wheeling area's homeless.
The shelter, located at the Hazel-Atlas Building, 87 15th St. in East Wheeling, and operated by Youth Services System Inc., will open at 10 p.m. Sunday and will operate nightly until March 15. Guests will be provided a clean, safe place to sleep, enjoy a meal and hospitality.
This marks the fifth year for the facility, which provides the sleeping accommodations until 7 a.m. daily.
John Moses, YSS executive director, saw the need for the facility several years ago. He not only offers a place to rest, but also serves as a good listener for those down on their luck.
"The opening of the transitional house on 18th Street by the 18th Street Neighborhood Center means there is a new resource for families with children. We have been able to help our guests in other ways.
"We have been able to pay for needed medication, to arrange for transportation so the guest may reunite with their family. All of this is made possible by those groups and individuals who volunteer to help their neighbors," Moses said.
The Freeze Shelter mantra is simple: "The face of Christ can be found in all of us; easy to forget of those less fortunate."
Moses explained that, during the winter months, local emergency shelters are full.
Last year, the Freeze Shelter saw 113 people walk through its doors seeking shelter. There were 86 men and 27 women helped last winter.
Volunteers who man the shelter are given proper training including a volunteer manual. More volunteers are always welcome and can call Holly Fox at 304-218-2847 to be scheduled.
The shelter also can use the following items for men and women: coats, hoodies, gloves, hats, sweaters, T-shirts, thermal underwear, any plus size clothing, jeans, long sleeve shirts, socks, belts, backpacks, duffel bags, sweatshirts, work boots; razors, shaving cream soap, deodorant, powder, shampoo/conditioner, toothpaste, toothbrushes, toilet paper, garbage bags, tissues, food items, coffee, tea, sugar/sweetener, hot chocolate, crackers, large cans of soups, peanut butter and juices.
Other items of need include sleeping bags, tents, laundry soap, duct tape, pens, pencils, writing paper, playing cards and board games. Cash donations are always welcome.
Those interested in sending cash can mail it to:
Youth Services System, Winter Freeze Project, P.O. Box 6041, Wheeling, WV 26003. Please make checks payable to Youth Services System, Inc. and write Winter Freeze in the memo line of the check.