MARQUETTE, Mich. (WJMN) – Now in the beginning of its second year as a permanent shelter, Room at the Inn Warming Center is continuing to grow in its role to provide housing and other services for community members in need. With the capacity for 30 guests, the shelter’s staff has continued to grow over time. Still, public support in the form of donations and volunteers is crucial to the services it provides.

“Most importantly what we want this next year going forward is more volunteerism,” said Nicholas Emmendorfer, Executive Director for Room at the Inn. “We want people coming here, meeting the face of our guests, meeting the staff, the fellow volunteers, and it’s really just a good way for the community to become educated about what our services are, how you’ll help the people who come through our doors, and it’s just a really fulfilling experience for all people who participate.”

Alongside socializing, the shelter providing a sense of security for its guests is crucial in allowing them to focus on longer term goals and to feel a sense of belonging within the community.

“I think one of the most important things for our community to remember is that this is our community safety net, so anyone here utilizing our shelter is our neighbor and they’re in need of our help,” Emmendorfer said. “These are not homeless people, these are people experiencing homelessness and it’s person first. As soon as you start to look at them as humans first you start to see why we need to provide services like Room at the Inn and the important impact that we make in the community providing a safety net for everyone.”

HOW TO VOLUNTEER

Room at the Inn has partnered with United Way to utilize the Yoopers United website to sign up for volunteering. Additionally, a tutorial video is available on Room at the Inn’s website to learn about how to sign up.

Volunteering is generally split into two primary methods. The first is through cooking or donating a dinner from a local establishment for up to 30 people. The second way is to volunteer in person by assisting with cooking, cleaning, meal preparation, and socializing with guests and other volunteers.

HOW TO DONATE

Donations can also be made on Room at the Inn’s website. In addition to monetary donations, the shelter accepts in-kind donations, including warm clothes like socks, hats, and gloves. Food donations for the shelter’s pantry are gladly accepted as well.