Trinity’s Freeze Night/Cold Weather Shelter FAQ

  • WHAT IS THE TUMC FREEZE NIGHT/COLD WEATHER SHELTER?
  • HOW DOES THE FREEZE NIGHT/COLD WEATHER SHELTER WORK?
  • WHAT DO YOU VOLUNTEERS NEED TO DO AHEAD OF TIME?
  • WHAT IF I STILL HAVE QUESTIONS?

WHAT IS THE TUMC FREEZE NIGHT/COLD WEATHER SHELTER?

Trinity United Methodist Church is one of many churches in Austin working with ARCH (Austin Resource Center for the Homeless) to provide shelter for people who are homeless on freeze nights. This will be on nights when it freezes, or if it’s wet weather and very near freezing. ARCH makes that decision, and then requests one of the shelters to open. TUMC will only open as a shelter on Thursday nights, as we’ve done for the past several years. 

HOW DOES THE FREEZE NIGHT/COLD WEATHER SHELTER WORK?

Volunteers sign up to be available for specific shifts (see below) on the Thursday(s) of their choice.  By 12 noon on a freezing Thursday, we get a call from ARCH asking if we can open our shelter. If our volunteers are all lined up for that day, we say yes. Then the emailing and the phone-calling commences, confirming our volunteers for that night.  (Coordinators and volunteers can also call the Cold Weather Shelter hotline to check if a freeze night has been called (after noon) at 305-ICEE (4233).)

Generally, we’ll be looking for volunteers to help in one or more of the following areas:  make phone calls, buy groceries, help in the kitchen/hang out in the evening, stay overnight, cook breakfast, and clean up the next morning. You can join in any area you want. If you’re new, don’t worry, because we always have experienced volunteers on shift, and it’s never, ever a solo act.

Available Shifts:  The specific schedule of times is still being tweaked because of changes from last season, but we’re more or less looking at noon to 4 grocery shopping, 4-6pm cooking and setting up, 6-10pm serving and cleaning up, 10pm-6am overnight, 4-6am (Friday) cooking breakfast, and 6-7:30am (Friday) cleaning and packing up. Your volunteer time can be as little or as much to which you want to commit.

WHAT DO YOU VOLUNTEERS NEED TO DO AHEAD OF TIME?

We’ll get volunteers lined up on the schedule for most Thursdays this winter, INCLUDING THANKSGIVING. Volunteers keep their Thursday nights open as much as they can this winter. I’ll keep an eye on the 10-day weather forecasts. When there’s a chance of cold weather coming up on a Thursday, I’ll double check with the volunteers for that day to make sure we’re good to go. Volunteers may get a desperate call the day before if we still need people. When you volunteer, remember that you are actually volunteering to volunteer. If there’s no freeze, you’re off the hook.

If you want to help with planning and decision making, in addition to being a worker bee, consider the planning team email list. Let me know if you want to be added.

WHAT IF I STILL HAVE QUESTIONS?

Call or email your lovely volunteer coordinator, Mariposa, at 796-4022.  Or corner me at church. I don’t promise to answer all your questions, but I do promise to make an honest attempt.

–Mariposa McGriffy
  TUMC Freeze Night Volunteer Coordinator
  shelter@tumc.org
  (512)796-4022

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About Trinity UMC

Trinity United Methodist Church is not a church that has all the answers, but we do know the source of our hope, healing, and love. Your continued participation is welcome as we seek to serve God through each other, our community, and our world. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or would simply like to talk. Trinity United Methodist Church is a dynamic community of people, who through their trust in God's faithfulness, strive to provide an inclusive, joyful, loving, and caring environment. In this community, people can find spiritual nurture and growth, mutual support of individual needs, and a sense of family. Reaching out through vital and creative worship, people-centered programs, and social and environmental stewardship, this congregation serves the local and global communities.

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