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Bitter cold temperatures drive warming center to extended hours

KAAL-TV
Updated: February 13, 2020 06:49 PM
Created: February 13, 2020 06:43 PM

(ABC 6 News)-- Low temperatures swept into Rochester this week, and officials at the Rochester warming center say they were driven to extend their hours because of it.

"At the beginning of the season when it's just starting to get cold it's the holidays and people's families are reaching out to them and there's still a lot of options for a lot of our different guests. But as the season wears through a lot of those opportunities tend to fade away," said Cathy Hunsaker, the Communications Specialist, and nighttime manager. 

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The center has just reached it's two-month marker since it's opening and has been generally operating from 9 p.m. to 7 a.m. 

"It's really difficult for us when we're here early in the evening getting set up for the night to see our guests stand out there so cold and when the temperatures are just bitter, you can tell they're miserable we just really wanted to be able to open those doors an hour early," said Hunsaker.

Thursday night the center open an hour earlier and closed an hour later on Friday morning. Officials say the change not only offers a little extra time out of the cold but also bridging the gap between the trade-off of when people leave the warming center and can go to the Salvation Army for the day.

Hunsaker says that they received food donations and on-call volunteers ready to take on a full house, and they are appreciative of the continued support from the Rochester community.

'We have people making donations to restaurants to bless us with food. We have people bringing in warm clothing and hand warmers and food for our guests and we couldn't have done it without the gifts of people from 
Rochester," said Hunsaker.

Temperatures are expected to rise above zero by the weekend, and officials say at that time they will resume with their regular hours. 


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