Temperature drop prompts shelter opening

More than a dozen people show up for shelter and a warm meal Monday night

Feb. 14, 2018 — The Florence Emergency Cold Weather Shelter opened its doors Monday night at the Presbyterian Church of the Siuslaw as temperatures were expected to fall below 32 degrees.

This is the second time the shelter has opened this season, and the first for 2018. The shelter previously opened on Dec. 20, 2017.

“We served dinner to 16 people and had 10 people spend the night,” Pastor Greg Wood, president of the program, said. “We served breakfast for 15 people. We had a couple people camp in their cars overnight. They came in, had supper, warmed up and went back out.”

Members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, along with Florence United Methodist church, provided a warm meal for those taking shelter.

“We had some really good homemade spaghetti with meat sauce, bread, chocolate cake, and a cheesy chicken and rice casserole,” Wood said. “It was good food.”

As a rule of thumb, the shelter opens when the temperature is expected to fall below 32 degrees on any given evening. While the temperature did not officially reach that low on Tuesday (the National Weather Service recorded 33 degrees) the expectation led to the opening.

It’s possible that the shelter may open once again next week. The forecast calls for cold weather Sunday through Tuesday, with temperatures dipping to 32 degrees, with possible rain.

“But, the weather forecasts are so changeable,” Wood said. “They’re up and down every day, but we’re ready to go if needs be.”

To find out if the emergency shelter will continue to be open through the week, the public can check the shelter’s Facebook page (Florence Emergency Cold Weather Shelter), sign up for its email blast or look for the shelter flag hung throughout the area, including at the Siuslaw Public Library and along Highway 101.

For those who cannot walk to the shelter, a pickup service will be available beginning at 5 p.m. with locations at the library, Safeway and Fred Meyer.

For more information, contact Wood at 541-991-8208.