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.
Handouts explaining the operation of the Warming Center at MHA are available here in a printable format.
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.
Millcreek Coffee Co. (formerly McCormick Coffee) has donated a supply of coffee to the Warming Center at MHA. Nothing says welcome like the offer of a warm beverage when a guest comes to the Center on one of Erie's coldest winter nights. This is the 7th year Millcreek Coffee has supported the Warming Center at MHA in this manner and we are very grateful. The Center can go through a lot of coffee and this donation helps to keep our funds available to meet payroll and be true to our promise to be open any night temperatures will dip to 25 degrees or below. The past 2 winters have been long and brutal. Millcreek coffee has helped make them more pleasant. Thanks.
Big thanks to all the volunteers of Connecting Hands for honoring the Warming Center at MHA as recipient of their HUGE SALE fundraising event Nov. 13 & 14, 2015. They raised $6,000 selling a variety of household, toys, books, jewelry, and seasonal items donated from throughout the Erie community. It was a great event with loads of shoppers picking up some great bargains. MHA volunteers were on hand to be of assistance but the gracious, well organized and just fun Connecting Hands volunteers had the event under control, making it special for all in attendance.
If you came out for the sale and made a purchase, we thank you. If you donated items for the sale, we thank you. But most of all we offer our sincere gratitude to the dedicated Connecting Hands volunteers for allowing MHA to be a part of their sense of mission in helping area nonprofits make a difference.
Thank you for your generous contribution to the Warming Center at MHA on Erie Gives Day. You have helped assure the community will again be able to offer those without shelter on the coldest of Erie winter nights a safe, warm haven. The Warming Center at MHA was open 79 nights this past winter and served over 430 persons in need of a warm, welcoming, overnight retreat from temperatures of 25 degrees or below. Your contribution combined with the prorated match from the Erie Community Foundation, GE Transportation, Erie Insurance, Presque Isle Downs and Casino, Eriez Magnetics and an anonymous donor brought in a total of $2,870 for the Warming Center at MHA. This represents our most successful Erie Gives Day response to date.
This expression of gratitude comes with the assurance that MHA will make sure your donation all goes toward the purpose for which you gave; and I hope you accept it with our commitment to make your dollars do the most for those who need it most.
May you enjoy a happy and healthy remainder of the summer in the comfort of knowing that, when the snow flies again, we will be ready to make sure no one need be left out in the cold.
Grant Fromknecht's recent warm sock drive for The Warming Center at MHA was inspired by Kid President's video "Socktober" on YouTube (Check it out!). Grant's teacher at Wattsburg Elementary, Mrs. Woodfield, introduced her class to Kid President this year. Kid President encourages kids to use the Internet for good and to BE AWESOME! He set a goal of motivating 2 million people to participate even if it is just donating a pair of socks. Grant decided to take up Kid President's challenge.
Mrs. Woodfield's and Grant's enthusiasm for this project spread from her class to the entire 3rd grade at Wattsburg Elementary. Grant made a flyer and together they set a goal of collecting 150 pairs of socks... and surpassed that by collecting 222 pairs of socks for The Warming Center at MHA in just 2 weeks! Good going Grant.
Our thanks go out to Grant, Mrs. Woodfield and all those at Wattsburg Elemenary School who responded to the call for socks. The Warming Center will use all 222 pairs this winter because when you are without shelter and don't have footwear that protects your feet, socks become soggy, freezing ice balls that threaten not only the health of your feet but of your whole body. Yep, a clean, warm pair of socks can mean a whole lot more than simple comfort, especially when the temperature is well below freezing.
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.