Don't leave anyone in the Cold this Winter.
Donate to the Warming Center at Mental Health Association
during Erie Gives 2015:
Tuesday August 11th 8am to 8pm
Warming Center Schedule
Date and sponsor
No Warming Center Hours now scheduled.
Hours are from 11:00PM until 7:30AM
History of Warming Center
On a cold January day in 2008, MHA attended a meeting at the Erie County Executive's office where the idea of opening a Warming Center for persons who were without shelter on the coldest of winter nights was being discussed. When it came time to consider where and when such a project could be established, MHA said we could open our Consumer Center from 11PM to 7AM starting in two days. With $5,000 in committed funding from the County and a willing MHA staff, The Warming Center at MHA was born. On any night when the overnight temperature is forecast to be 20 degrees or below, MHA coordinates with Erie County Emergency Management to get the word out to the community that the Warming Center at MHA will be opening its doors, accepting anyone who needs to come in from the cold during overnight hours provided they will abide by basic rules of mutual respect. MHA provides shelter, safety, food, coffee, activities, conversation, support, and a place to "nap" for those needing to rest.
2 years ago we increased the opening temperature to 25 degrees or below. The 2013-14 winter season was the coldest since we opened the Warming Center at MHA and we were open for a record 91 nights, providing warmth and comfort to over 340 shelterless persons. Individuals, churches, businesses and nonprofts throughout the community have generously stepped up to help with donations of funds, food, clothing, and blankets. Thanks to Erie's goodwill and support, the Warming Center at MHA has never missed a night because of lack of resources. The outpouring of care that we have experienced fills us all at MHA with great pride to be a part of such a loving community. They are not just helping to provide a safe, warm place for those without shelter. MHA is a mental health consumer preferred employer. Every night the Warming Center at MHA is open, it is also providing persons with mental health needs with a meaningful job.
One of the most impressive support efforts has come from our neighbors at The Upper Room at St. Paul's United Church of Christ at 11th and Peach St. They have graciously elected to open their facility for homeless persons between 5 and 11PM on any night on which we will be opening the Warming Center at MHA. Persons without a safe place to be will also have a resource during the evening hours when the temperatures can be life threatening. Our hats are off to The Upper Room. They could use some volunteers and financial help for their efforts and we encourage the community to support the Upper Room as well.
Warming Center Adds Half Hour To Its Schedule
We are happy to announce that the Warming Center at MHA will stay open a half hour longer each morning to better coincide with the serving of the Bishop's Breakfast at St. Paul's United Church of Christ. Hours of operation for the Warming Center at MHA will now be from 11 PM to 7:30 AM on any night the temperature is forecast to be below 25 degrees. Guests of the Warming Center will not have to either wait in the cold or find some alternate shelter for that half hour between 7 and 7:30. This change is made in Feb 2015 by a re-organizing of MHA's morning housekeeping schedule.
How to Help
Support the Warming Center with PayPal
Use your paypal account and enter 'Warming Center' in the instruction area.
Contributions can be mailed directly to the MHA at 1101 Peach St, Erie, PA 16501 attn: Bill Grove, CEO. We are a 501.c3 non-profit. Your contributions are tax deductable. A formal receipt will be returned to you for your tax records.
This printable wishlist contains many of the personal items needed by our visiting neighbors. In the past, MHA has accepted children’s clothing and toy donations for the Warming Center at MHA. We have found that there has been little call for these items. They could be of more use elsewhere at organizations that have more direct contact with children and families. For clean and gently used clothing donations, please limit to items for adult men and women. Thank you to all who have been so generous to us.
Warming Center at MHA
Handouts explaining the operation of the Warming Center at MHA are available here in a printable format.
National Fuel Gas Foundation Pledges $10,000 To Support The Warming Center At MHA
Fall of 2014, it was suggested that we consider asking one of our neighbors, National Fuel, for financial assistance to support the Warming Center at MHA. It made sense that maybe a company that provides the fuel that keeps most of us warm all winter might find it compatible to help those in our community who are without access to this precious commodity. I was put in touch with David Waples, Manager of Corporate Communications at the Erie office, and he shepherded me through the donation application process for the National Fuel Gas Foundation. Well, as of this morning he informed me that we would soon be receiving a check for $2,500 from the foundation with a commitment to provide the same amount of support over the next three years for a total contribution of $10,000. We couldn’t be more pleased to have National Fuel as a supporter of the Warming Center at MHA. They are now both good neighbors and good friends not only to MHA but to the hundreds of persons without shelter who are our overnight guests each winter.
General Electric Employees Honor the Warming Center at MHA With an Outstanding Gift
WE ARE SPEECHLESS! A few weeks ago one of our MHA staff members was talking with a representative of the GE Employees Community Service Fund about the urgent need for financial support for the Warming Center at MHA in the face of another bitter winter. Turns out this GE representative, Rob Celeski, is only too aware of the needs of people in Erie who are without overnight shelter in Erie because he has been a volunteer in a sister program, Our Neighbors Place Overflow Shelter. Following a phone conversation between Mr. Celeski and MHA CEO, Bill Grove detailing the financial plight of the Warming Center at MHA, Mr. Celeski expressed an interest in championing a request for funding through the GE Employees Community Seervice Fund. MHA was invited to meet with the Fund Board two weeks later. MHA Operations Manager, Pat Stucke, Center Team Leader, Carla Kurpiewski, and Center Team Member, Diana Ames attended, providing information and answering questions about the Warming Center at MHA. Three hours later Mr. Grove received a phone call from Mr. Celeski saying the board had decided to award us a donation and he would be coming by that same day.
HE PRESENTED MHA WITH A CHECK FOR $20,000. We are still in shock. This donation will provide us with the security to feel much more confident that we will be able to meet our commitment to shelterless individuals and the general community to open our doors from 11 pm to 7 am any night there is a forecast of 25 degrees or below this winter. We could not be more grateful. This donation in combination with the many other contributions by individuals, families, and businesses in Erie is not only ensuring the availability of the Warming Center this year, but is now helping us be build the funding we will need to be much better prepared next Fall.
20,000 thanks to the generous employees at General Electric.
Safe Harbor Behavioral Health Supports the Warming Center at the MHA
We are grateful for the clothing drives that the employees at Safe Harbor Behavioral Health held for the Warming Center at the MHA earlier in November. One of the therapists, Erin Adams, spearheaded this effort. We received over 30 bags of winter clothing and $300 in donations! We are thankful for this generous donation from all of the employees at Safe Harbor. Through their kindness and compassion, many will be able to stay safe and warm during this winter. We are very appreciative to have such great community support.