Volunteers learn shelter operations
With dropping temperatures and no overnight shelter for the homeless to go in Pittsburg, groups of volunteers are learning how to operate temporary shelters until a more permanent situation is available.
Pittsburg’s Salvation Army hosted international disaster expert Jerry Larsen to talk to 25 volunteers on shelter operations, from setup to cleanup.
“People need to know that somebody is there to take care of their immediate needs and help them think in the long-term of how they’re going to resolve what made them homeless in the first place,” Larsen said.
Larsen said the number of volunteers who gave up their Saturday to learn is a promising indicator of the community’s care.
A current homeless task force meets regularly with tasks like finding and securing a shelter and raising funds. Laura Samford serves on that task force.
“The more volunteers we have, the better we are able to provide a quality shelter for people in the future. Without the volunteer base, we can’t do anything. So this is a baby step toward our larger goal,” Samford said.
Volunteers learned the demands of sheltering. Even 24 hours of sheltering calls for proper bedding, hydration, food, resources and more.
“The temperatures are dropping. Hypothermia is a real concern, people lose their lives. So we’re in emergency mode. This is survival at this point,” Samford said.