News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Sisters Cold Weather Shelter opens

St. Charles Health System recently provided a big boost to Sisters Cold Weather Shelter with a $5,000 donation to help support the shelter’s mission of providing a safe, warm place for unhoused people in Sisters to get out of the winter weather.

The shelter was originally scheduled to open December 1, but due to the recent cold temperatures and the forecast for snow, the shelter opened on Monday, November 25, at Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church. Doors open at 6 p.m. each evening for dinner and the night, with guests leaving by 7 a.m. the next morning.

Mike Richards, director of operations and ambulatory specialties, Carlos Salcedo, manager of community partnerships, and Chloe Fief, who provides community health education in Sisters, were all present representing St. Charles in the presentation of the check to shelter committee members.

St. Charles provides similar support to shelters in La Pine, Madras, and Redmond, providing a total of $30,000 this year. Richards indicated that if and when shelter space is found in Bend (the Bend shelter announced last week space had been secured at the DCSO), they will provide support to them as well.

“Your cold weather shelter does a huge service to the community,” said Richards.

Right outside the Sisters office of St. Charles Family Care is a pad of heated concrete where occasionally unhoused individuals seek shelter from the cold, lying on a piece of cardboard. Someone happened to still be there the morning the St. Charles representatives arrived.

Salcedo told The Nugget, “We are excited to give back to the community.” He said their goal is to keep their patients, friends, and neighbors healthy, and supporting the shelter helps meet that goal.

St. Charles has increased their support for a number of Sisters activities and organizations, including Citizens4Community and Age Friendly Sisters Country.

Shelter chairman, Gary Eidsmoe, indicated, “This donation puts us on an even keel for this coming shelter season. Earlier we had concerns as to whether we would have the necessary funds (it costs $10,000 a month) to run the shelter.”

This year four local churches are sharing their facilities to provide temporary housing each evening during December, January, and February. Like they are doing for the last week of November, if harsh winter temperatures continue into March, they will have the shelter open, funding permitting.

•?November 25 through December 15, Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church.

•?December 16 through January 12, Sisters Community Church, The Hangar.

•?January 13 through February 9, Westside Church (New Hope building).

•?February 10 through 29, Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration.

This will be the first year the Lutheran Church is hosting the shelter. Westside Church has leased the now-vacant New Hope Christian Center at 222 Trinity Way as a space for their food bank and to house the shelter for parts of January and February.

To make donations of warm winter clothing, take items to the Habitat for Humanity office at 141 W. Main Ave., on the second floor of the building, or to the shelter during open hours.

Items particularly needed include wool socks, warm hats and gloves, long underwear, flannel shirts, sweaters, and, of course, cash for incidentals.


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