HOLYOKE — OneHolyoke CDC, the city of Holyoke, and other local community organizations have coordinated a pop-up warming shelter for the community today, Jan. 26 due to colder-than-normal temperatures expected in the region. The warming shelter will be hosted at the Mt. Tom Masonic Lodge, 235 Chestnut St., Holyoke from 4 p.m. on Wednesday until 9 a.m. on Thursday.
The pop-up warming shelter was initially launched on Jan. 21 in anticipation of the dangerously cold weekend, and remained open through the past weekend due to higher-than-expected demand and continuously cold temperatures. Nearly 30 homeless members of the community were served and kept safe, more than double the number of people initially anticipated.
The risk of hypothermia and frostbite that comes with any extreme cold weather event has been made greater due to the high stress the current COVID-19 surge has placed on the region’s emergency services. Cots, bedding, dry clothing, PPE, food, and coffee are all available for those who visit the warming shelter.
According to Michael Moriarty, executive director of OneHolyoke CDC, “this pop-up has demonstrated greater need than expected. The capacity of the partnership to make Holyoke a safer and healthier community during some of the most dangerously cold winter days has been revealed, and we will collectively provide another pop-up warming shelter on Wednesday with the expected upcoming wind-chill event.”
The organizing team for the pop-up shelter includes Moriarty, Holyoke Mayor Joshua Garcia, Holyoke Emergency Management Director Jeff Trask, Theresa Nicholson of the Center for Human Development, and Matt Peterson of Mt. Tom Masonic Lodge.
The organizing team is assisted by the Holyoke Fire Department, the Holyoke Police Department, Holyoke Health Center, Holyoke Medical Center, Tapestry, Behavioral Health Network, R&S Cleaning Service, Iglesia Rescatando Las Ovejas Perdidas Inc., Capri Pizza, Domino’s Pizza, and Ocean State Job Lot.