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CAPE FEAR MEMORIAL BRIDGE: Updates, resources, and context

Warming shelter to open two nights for Wilmington's homeless population

The pop-up shelter opens when temperatures fall below 30 degrees on any two consecutive nights.
The Warming Shelter ILM
The pop-up shelter opens when temperatures fall below 30 degrees on any two consecutive nights.

The warming shelter will open Friday, Feb. 3, and Saturday, Feb. 4, to host homeless people overnight during low temperatures.

The shelter opens in the fellowship hall of Trinity United Methodist Church at 1403 Market Street when temperatures fall below 30 degrees on any two consecutive nights.

The pop-up emergency shelter is asking for volunteers to help with serving meals, organizing, and cleaning up — but coordinators request that no additional volunteers show up beyond those who sign up, as space is limited and the shelter serves nearly 100 people.

Reverend Meg McBride said, “we are in need of consumable items, like soda, individually wrapped snacks, like chips, honeybuns, our guests love all those Little Debbie snacks.”

“We also are in need of some flashlights and some raincoats, and we have an Amazon shopping list,” she said. “We do not need and I'm going to stress this, any coats, blankets, clothing — we handle clothing on a case-by-case basis.”

Those interested in volunteering can sign up on the shelter’s Facebook page, and can also give donations, which will go to this weekend’s shelter and efforts at a downtown day shelter.

Check-in for guests is at 5:30 pm. A cot, hot meals, and care items are provided.

Organizers invited New Hanover County Commissioners for dinner at the shelter on Feb. 3 to meet with homeless community members and volunteers.

That invitation comes ahead of a vote on Monday where the commissioners will consider an updated ordinance criminalizing sleeping on county property, like the library.

Organizers also plan to open a day shelter in early March to connect homeless people with services, but the warming shelter is “triage.”

“It's important to get people out of the cold, obviously, because I think this weekend is gonna get really, really cold,” McBride said. “We want them to be warm and safe, it gives us an opportunity to have meals together.”

Grace is a multimedia journalist recently graduated from American University. She's attracted to issues of inequity and her reporting has spanned racial disparities in healthcare, immigration detention and college culture. In the past, she's investigated ICE detainee deaths at the Investigative Reporting Workshop, worked on an award-winning investigative podcast, and produced student-led video stories.