New warming shelter opens in Fond du Lac

Salvation Army exterior

FOND DU LAC, Wis. (WBAY) – Just weeks after learning it was approved to host the winter warming shelter in Fond du Lac, the Salvation Army is prepared to open the center Tuesday night. It took a community effort to make it happen.

When Fond du Lac found itself without a warming shelter this winter, The Salvation Army stepped up at the last minute to help, setting November first as its opening day.

“It’s been interesting trying to get everything together and put everything in,” says Captain Steven Wilson from The Salvation Army.

And even though temperatures today are well above normal, officials with The Salvation Army still expect to house several people overnight.

Captain Wilson says, “We’ve already had people calling us saying, I’m going to need a place to sleep tonight. And, if they’re sleeping outside right now, what we have in here, we have a bed, we have a pillow, we have blankets, we have a warm place to sleep. We have a meal served, so it’s going to be better than what they have.”

Everything from the pillows and blankets to personal hygiene kits came in courtesy of community donations.

Connie Michels originally donated a washer and dryer to the shelter, but then felt she had to do more, eventually securing sets of sheets, towels, wash cloths, tissues, toothpaste and toothbrushes, among other items. Then, following an outreach to friends she helped to ensure every warming shelter guest would have a blanket to use too.

According to Michels, “I’m so proud to have the friends I have, that were willing to step in. I’m really lucky that I could find the resources to help them out and I’m so grateful that I was put where I was, because I was really really needed.”

While the community has stepped up to donate all of the supplies needed for the overnight guests at the warming shelter, what the Salvation Army says it needs now is help in the kitchen.

Captain Wilson adds, “We’re encouraging groups, churches, organizations to come in and be able to serve the meal to the clients that come in for the warming shelter. If you’re unable to serve and you just want to make a meal and bring it in, we can also serve it as well.”

The first meal will be served to warming shelter guests tonight, with accommodations available for those in need throughout the winter.