PRINCETON — With the bitter cold temperatures already biting this season, warming centers throughout the area are opening their doors to those in need of an escape from the wind chill and dangerous inclement weather.
A well-known “warm spot” is the Bureau County Senior Center, who has been opening its doors to those in need for more than six years.
Director Denise Ihrig has been there to witness the demand and said the doors are open to everyone and anyone, no matter which community they are from.
“We open our doors to anyone because we know people are out there who need this,” she said.
The senior center is located at 16 W. Marion St., in downtown Princeton. It’s also referred to as the Clark House. The center is located in the downstairs/basement portion of the building.
Warming centers offer an important service to people in desperate times of need. Their purpose helps prevent death and injury-related exposure to harsh elements, whether it be falling objects, such as trees in strong winds, frostbite, hypothermia and more.
Warming centers are open to serve more than just the homeless. Folks who may be stranded due to vehicle issues, or if a home is suddenly without power — whatever the circumstances may be, the offer is there.
“We want to assist folks in the community anyway we can. This is why we offer this opportunity,” said Ihrig.
At the senior center, Ihrig said the coffee pot is always on; hot chocolate and tea is prepared; and visitors can sit and chat as they catch a break from the cold.
The senior center also offers a hot meal to those who call ahead the day before by 10 a.m. A suggested donation is asked for the meal.
The senior center’s warming center hours are the same as hours of operation. They are open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. The senior center will be closed on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day.
In many communities, local churches and village halls serve as a warming center to those in need. St. Margaret’s Hospital in Spring Valley has been known to also serve as a warming center.
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