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    More Than Shelter

    The Salvation Army's Warm Room in Belleville, Ont., offers love, care and community. November 27, 2019 by June Li
    Filed Under:
    Faith & Friends
    Carm Knapp serves a meal
    Carm Knapp serves a meal
    Every year, The Salvation Army in Belleville, Ont., operates a program called the Warm Room. Though the name suggests that it is a place of shelter from the blistering cold, a step inside the Warm Room will show you that it is much more than that. It’s also a place of love, care and community.

    Daily from November 15 to March 15, the Warm Room opens its doors between 6 and 8:30 p.m. for the community. Whether people are experiencing homelessness or just looking for companionship, the Warm Room welcomes everyone for a hot meal and refreshments. Winter accessories, such as hats and mitts, along with sleeping bags and toiletries, are also available free of charge.

    A Safe Place
    “We have people from all walks of life come in,” says Carm Knapp, the Warm Room volunteer co-ordinator. “We have people who live on the street, teenagers, children and families who go to the Warm Room. Some people just want to eat but others want to chat.”

    For Chris, the Warm Room gives him a sense of self-worth where he feels safe and can be himself. When Chris’ life turned upside down, he felt alone and judged. One day, he ventured into the Warm Room. In the beginning, he went for just a meal but over time, he began to open up to others and build relationships. “If you need a listening ear, you can always talk to Carm or one of the volunteers,” he says. “They are always there for you and will do their best to help.”

    Carm explains that many individuals who visit the Warm Room find comfort in sharing their experiences with one another. Though counselling is not provided, volunteers strive to meet the needs of individuals.

    “Many times, we refer them to agencies if they are needing assistance beyond our means,” explains Carm. “Other times, all they need is a smile and encouraging words.”

    Whether someone is looking to watch a movie or play table games, they know that they are in a place where they are cared for. “The Warm Room is a place where I don’t feel lonely,” says Chris.

    “We provide a warm safe place for anyone to come for whatever reason,” says Carm. “We have become like family to each other.”

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