Waupaca warming shelter getting upgraded, volunteers needed

WAUPACA, Wi. (WBAY) - As the days get colder, the need for people to have shelter becomes even more important, especially in smaller communities with less resources.

One Waupaca organization says it provides the only overnight warming shelter in a 20-mile radius.

“In another week or so it should be done, done,” said Foundations for Living Executive Director Wilma Akright.

Foundations for Living in Waupaca helps people in crisis in a number of different ways, including serving as a warming shelter for adults.

“The need is great,” said Akright. “The numbers of homeless are not number-wise as big as in the big cities. But percentage-wise it’s even higher or just as high.”

Akright says the past month has been spent revamping their warming shelter, which she says on average is used by five people a day.

The idea first started by discussing adding just a shower to use, but then it turned into adding a laundry and kitchenette, too. The warming center will fit up to eight people at a time.

“Very exciting,” said Akright. “Especially the last few weeks as the word has gotten out.”

Overall about $15,000 was donated for the project. Two major contributions came from the Waupaca Community Foundation and the Darla-Rae Memorial Fund, which honors a former Foundations for Living worker. The rest of the funding was provided by individuals.

“It was fun to even see it on paper at first, seeing what we could do,” said Akright.

But to do as much as they’d like, they need volunteers. Ideally Akright says they need four people divided among two shifts to supervise the overnight warming shelter, which lasts from November through April. It’s open seven days a week from 7 p.m. to 7:30 a.m.

“If you add that all up that’s a lot of people and a lot of volunteers that we need,” said Akright.

Volunteers are also needed to help with laundry and daily cleaning.
“It takes a lot of work but it’s fulfilling,” said Akright.

Akright says the dream is to have a year-round shelter in the future, but for now she’s excited about this new beginning.

“It’ll be nice when we get it done,” said Akright.

Sunday Oct. 27 the public will be able to see the warming center at a pie social starting at 1 p.m.

To volunteer or learn more, contact Foundations for Living at 715-942-2725 or visit the group’s website CLICK HERE.