Extreme cold temperatures are on the way this weekend, and representatives of the Leavenworth Interfaith Community of Hope are getting prepared.
Staff and volunteers are handing out free hand-warmers, gloves, socks and hats as the area prepares to be hit with high temperatures in the teens this weekend.
The agency operates a night shelter, a day shelter and Welcome Central under one roof at 310 Kiowa St.
Agency director Sister Vickie Perkins said when the weather becomes extremely cold or hot, the day shelter remains open all day for breakfast and lunch.
“More people want to get out of (the weather) and get something to eat,” Perkins said.
Perkins said the day center is serving approximately 120 people breakfast and lunch each day.
The 36-bed night shelter has been averaging about 28 guests each night of the week.
The night shelter can be expanded into the day shelter if needed.
She said approximately 70 percent of the guests at the night shelter stay for a week or less. She said the ages range from only months old to the mid-80s.
Agency representative Linda Martin said it is hard to anticipate how many people will use the shelter each day and/or night.
“There’s no rhyme or reason to it,” she said.
Perkins said “significantly more people” are using the services this year. The agency used to be located in a two-story building at the corner of 5th and Kiowa streets.
“We had the stairs to deal with over there,” Perkins said.
She said the new shelter’s one-story layout is more suitable for guests.
Martin said the agency is well-stocked with donated items for those in need.
“People have been great,” she said. But she said donations are still welcome, specifically for items such as regular coffee, decaffeinated coffee, creamer, sugar, toilet paper, laundry soap and dish soap.
Perkins said the agency is always looking for more volunteers. She said there are approximately 100 volunteers who help out each week at the facility.