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Strong turnout for Thermal Shelter meeting

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A large number of local residents turned out for a meeting to discuss the need for a temporary thermal shelter in the county. / Photos by Jennifer Avery

FRONT ROYAL – The first Thermal Shelter meeting was held Thursday evening, Jan. 11 at New Hope Bible Church, to discuss the serious need for a temporary thermal shelter in Warren County.

Hollis Tharpe, Town Mayor, was in attendance and was able to help answer a variety of questions. Approximately eight churches were represented in the meeting, in addition to several other individuals and organizations who are heavily involved in working with the local homeless population, such as Habitat for Humanity, Salvation Army, the board of ROTH of FR (Roof Over Their Heads) and Linda Allen, a long-time local advocate for the underserved population.

Kathy Leonard (l), Vicki Davies, Michelle Smeltzer, Pam Williams and Roni Evans led the discussion at Thursday’s thermal shelter meeting.

One of the main goals of this meeting was to identify and recruit hosting churches and volunteers. Three churches stepped forward quickly once the question was posed to the crowd. Volunteers will be needed to supervise shelter and activities, fix meals, mentor and more. The group hopes that the public will be able to donate items such as linens, cots, chairs and self-sealing baggies.

Vicki Davies from St. Luke Community Clinic explained that nurses are ready to be available each night, as needed.

Kathy Leonard, Homeless Liaison for Front Royal and facilitator of the evening, explained, “More than solving someone’s problem, the single most important thing I have given someone is hope…people need hope.”

The meeting was also hosted by Vicki Davies of St. Luke Clinic, Michelle Smeltzer, with House of Hope, Pam Williams, from The Potter’s House and Roni Evans.

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