Essex County Homeless Organization’s first training session for those volunteering to staff their homeless shelter this season attracted 36 people.
The event was held at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints in Tappahannock, which has committed to provide volunteers for a full a week every month from January to March. “They have been very active as a group and individually since the shelter was founded in 2015,” said Mary Wigmore, vice president of ECHO.
Last winter ECHO was trying to get a permit to operate in Tappahannock and didn’t provide shelter services. “Because of that, the active volunteer list became stagnant and now we’re working to redevelop it,” Wigmore said. And, since the organization received the green light to operate the shelter at a house on Hospital Road, procedures have changed so even experienced volunteers need to be retrained.
Wigmore said developing the new operational system took a lot of work. The job included outlining different lodging configurations for the four-bedroom house and creating security and fire plans. According to the participants at the Wednesday night training session, the effort shows.
Thomas and Kristina Kaski along with their four children attended the training and will be volunteering for a second time:
“This training was more in-depth, delving deeper into procedures and security,” Mr. Kaski said, addin that he feels like “he has a better understanding of how the whole operation works.”
Tiffany Harrison, attended the training and is returning for her third season of volunteering. She also described the training more thorough and well organized. She said she feels that any kinks that may have been existed in the past have been worked out.
The shelter is set to open January 1 unless December is extremely cold. Then, it could open earlier.
For the full article pick up a copy of this weeks Northern Neck News 11/14/18