To provide emergency shelter to our neighbors 
during times of extreme weather or disaster.

When the temperature drops 30 degrees Fahrenheit (30įF) or below or during other hazardous conditions, the Warm Shelter provides a free place to take emergency shelter for the night. When activated, the Warm Shelter operates 4:00 pmĖ8:00 am in the Fellowship Hall of Valley United Methodist Church at 25133 E. Broadway, Veneta, OR 97487. Check the Fern Ridge Community Dinners and Community Warm Shelter website: for the activation status. 

Anyone coming in the door during the hours of operation will get a warm place to sleep, along with a free dinner and breakfast. Guests are often members of our community who are homeless or need to take shelter. Guests are welcome to leave and return as needed. Adult Chaperone(s) on duty will supervise behavior. (This is not an Egan Center.)

Along with a place to sleep and a meal, the shelter offers provide hot meals (dinner and breakfast) and entertainment (music, movies, cards, games, etc.) to lift guestsí hearts from the cold and darkness.

The Warm Shelter is made possible by coordination with Valley United Methodist Church and community partners such as the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), Fern Ridge Service Center, other local churches, and?most of all?volunteers.

We thank everyone who volunteers their time and services. Without sufficient staff, the Warm Shelter cannot open safely.

Contact List

The Community Dinner-Warm Shelter Volunteer Contacts Google sheet lists the contact information of all volunteers. This list includes guests who provide their emails and phone numbers so they can be contacted upon activation. This list is only available to the Dinner/Shelter Planning Team.

Volunteer Roles

Many volunteers are needed to operate the Warm Shelter:

  • Activation Leads (activate or close the shelter)
  • Team Leads (coordinate and oversee activated night shifts)
  • Volunteer Coordinator (coordinate with Team Leads to staff shifts, as available)
  • Activation Communicator (posts signs and communicates opening to Sheriff and Fire Dept.)
  • Shift Volunteers (cooks, chaperones, and cleaners)

If you need to leave early or cannot complete a full shift, contact the Team Lead.

Activation Leads

Activation Leads are volunteers designated to activate or close the Warm Shelter based on weather conditions and temperatures. Responsibilities include:

  • Monitoring the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) website (
  • Coordinating with the Warm Shelter Volunteer Coordinator regarding possible activation, actual activation, and closure of the Warm Shelter.
  • Notifying website manager (Dennis Maricle - email preferred) to set activation status.
  • Notifying the activation communicator (Dave Rider - call preferred).

Activation Communicator will:

         Contact Sheriff Dispatch and Fire Department reader board.

         Place signs at the library and the Love Project.

         Place yellow ribbons on the gates at 8th St. and Territorial

Warm Shelter Volunteer Coordinator

Warm Shelter Volunteer Coordinator:

Responsibilities include:

    Contacting all volunteers re: activation status.

  • Ensuring there is a Team Lead for each night of activation.
  • Making calls and following up with volunteers to ensure shifts are staffed.

Team Leads

Team Leads are responsible for overseeing the staffing of a Warm Shelter activation night and have access to a church key. Upon activation, responsibilities include:

  • Being on call and reachable by phone in case of behavioral issues or a volunteer not showing up for a designated shift.
  • Filling a shift if a volunteer does not show for a shift and another volunteer cannot fill in.

Team Leads are not necessarily assigned for the duration that the Warm Shelter might be activated. When different Team Leads are assigned for different nights, the activated Team Lead should pass along shift notes and sign-up information from the previous night(s) in the Warm Shelter notebook.


Activation of the emergency Warm Shelter depends on the following 3 factors:

  1. Extreme weather conditions or disaster indicating a significant danger for neighbors to stay in their usual living environment. These include temperatures 30 degrees Fahrenheit or below or may include consideration of successive days at below freezing temperatures.
  2. Availability of 2 Adult Chaperones per shift to remain awake throughout the night and monitor and supervise the safety of those being sheltered and the church itself from 5:00 pm to 7:30 am.
  3. Activation decision is made by the Warm Shelter Activation Lead. Extreme weather conditions may indicate the need to remain open through the day.

Warm Shelter Activation Process

1.    Activation Lead will:

         Monitor NOAA website and emergency reports to determine whether to activate or close the Shelter.

         By 4:00 pm on the previous day, make the decision to activate the Warm Shelter for the following night.

o   For example, the decision is made to activate for Monday night by 4:00 pm Sunday afternoon.

         Notify website manager to set activation status.

         Contact activation coordinator to contact the Sheriff Dispatch and Fire Department.

2.    Warm Shelter Volunteer Coordinator will:

         Send a mass email for early warning of possible activation of the Warm Shelter.

         Notify all volunteers of activation.

o   Send a mass email for activation of the Warm Shelter.

         Ensure there is a Team Lead.

         Work with the Volunteer Coordinator/Team Lead to fill shifts.

o   Ensure 1st-night duty slots are filled.

o   Keep the sign-ups current.

3.    Activator then:

         Coordinates with Warm Shelter Volunteer Coordinator about possible next night(s) as per weather conditions.

4.    Repeat above until Activation Lead deactivates the Warm Shelter.

5.    Upon deactivation of the Warm Shelter: Volunteer Coordinator/Activation Lead sends mass email announcing the close and contacts starred (*) contacts on the Emergency Contact List.

 Overview of Shifts

3:30-7:30 pm: Dinner (2 people)

7:00-12 Midnight: Overnight 1 (2 people)

12-5:00 am: Overnight 2 (2 people)

5:00-8:00 am: Morning/Cleaning (2 people)


 Overview of Schedule

?      3:30 pm: Dinner shift arrives

?      4:00 pm: Doors open

?      5:00 pm: Dinner is served; dinner chaperones arrive

?      6:00 pm: Snacks (if being served)

?      7:30 pm: 1st shift of overnight chaperones arrive

?      10:00 pm: Quiet time

?      12:00 Midnight: 2nd shift of overnight chaperones arrive

?      5:00 am: Morning/Cleaning shift arrives

?      7:00 Wake up guests

>     Hand out breakfasts packaged for takeout & clean area

?      8:00 am: Doors close; final clean up and lock up

Detailed Schedule

Volunteering should be fulfilling and joyful. Come to the Warm Shelter ready to work and to enjoy fellowship with guests and other volunteers.

?      3:30 pm: Dinner shift arrives

?      4:00 pm: Doors open

?      5:00 pm: Dinner is served

?      6:00 pm: Snacks (if being served)

?      7:00 pm 1st shift of overnight chaperones arrive




All Shifts:

?      Sign the volunteer log and provide contact information if you are a new volunteer.

o      Remind guests that they cannot leave their belongings in the church. Everything they bring in must be removed when they depart in the morning.

?      Wear a name tag.

?      Ensure that every guest signs in and understands the behavior expectations.

?      Provide beverages.

?      If someone arrives hungry (including dogs), find something for them to eat.

?      If someone arrives and needs clothing, check the pantry for socks, hats, gloves, etc.

?      Do walk-throughs, e.g., check the bathrooms.

?      Keep up with the cleaning (clean as you go).

Sleeping pads, cots, and blankets. Supplies for the Warm Shelter are stored in the shed at the northwest corner of the church. The shed can be opened with a church key. Contact the Team Lead to access or if additional supplies are needed.

Emergency blankets (the kind that canít be washed) are on-site and also available at the Food Pantry.

Changing the thermostat. The thermostat is located on the west wall. If the temperature needs to be adjusted, press the up or down arrows to temporarily change the temperature. (Last person will need to change temperature back to appropriate setting.)

Washing dishes. Instructions on how to run dishwasher are on the dishwasher.

Trash and recycling. The garbage and recycling containers are located outside of the east side of the church. Combine trash into single bag, if possible.

Dinner Shift: 3:30 pm to 7:30 pm (cook, serve, clean up)

?      Set up beverages.

?      Cook dinner.

o      Food served at the Warm Shelter needs to stay separate from the food from the Community Dinner. The Warm Shelter food comes from direct donations. Suggested menus and location of food are in the Warm Shelter Binder.

o      This is not a 3-course meal. Itís something hot and easy, e.g., soup, stew, pizza. Dessert is also served.

o      Set up beverages.

?      Check that the following are ready for dinner:

o      Silverware wrapped in napkins (35Ė40)

o      2 tables set up and cleaned with anti-bacterial cleaner

o      Full napkin holders and salt and pepper shakers on the tables

?      Ensure everything is ready for guests.

o      Set out sign-in/expectation sheet.

o      Put rope up for the doors from the Fellowship Hall to the Narthex (entrance to Sanctuary). This is to discourage people from going to the Sanctuary.

o      Ensure sleeping pads are accessible in the Fellowship Hall.

o      Remove pillows from couches. (Couches are not to be slept on.)

?      4:00 pm: Open doors.

o      Guests choose their sleeping spaces on mats on the floor of the Fellowship Hall.

o      With the approval of a volunteer, families with children may sleep in the Pastorís Study.

?      5:00 pm: Serve dinner.

o      Grace will be offered in the dining room. Guests may choose to pray with you, but it is not a requirement.

o      Serve guests at the serving window.

o      This is not a 3-course meal. Itís something hot and easy, e.g., soup, stew, pizza. Dessert is also served.

o      Guests are responsible for bussing their tables, but check dining room for dishes.

o      Document number of dinners served and number of takeout meals in the Warm Shelter notebook.

?      6:00 pm: Put out snacks (if being served).

o      Snacks should be in a designated Warm Shelter box in the kitchen.

?      Breakfast prep (if time): prep takeout/bagged breakfasts for the morning.

?      Clean kitchen and wash dishes.

Overnight Shift 1: 7:30 pm to 12:00 Midnight (chaperone)

?      Offer movies or games.

?      10:00 pm: Start of quiet time.

Overnight Shift 2: 12:00 Midnight to 5:00 am (chaperone)

?      Quiet time.

Morning/Cleaning: 5:00 am to 8:00 am (provide takeout breakfast at 7:00 am cleanup)

?      Breakfast prep:

o      Ensure that takeout/bagged breakfasts are prepped.

o      Items can include boiled eggs, pastries, or fruit.

?      7:00 am: Wake guests and provide takeout breakfast.

o      It is vital that we keep records to report to the institutions that support the community program.

o      Document the number of takeout meals in the Warm Shelter notebook.

?      Guests are responsible for putting pads up and cleaning their sleeping areas.

?      Ensure that all guests have removed their belongings. As necessary, remind them that they cannot leave their belongings on the property.

?      Cleaning: Clean kitchen, dining room, and fellowship hall. Sweep and mop all floors. Take out trash and recycling.

o      If the Shelter will be open multiple days, check with Team Lead or the church calendar posted in the entryway to see if there are activities in the Hall and a full clean is necessary.

?      8:00 am: Close doors.

Kitchen Clean-Up

?      Bag leftovers. With clean hands, bag all remaining food. Leftover food will be delivered to the Food Bank.

o      Look in both refrigerators and check the oven for leftover food.

o      Use the sandwich-size baggies or a plastic container.

o      Before filling the bags/containers, label and date them with a permanent marker.

o      Put everything that needs to be refrigerated in the refrigerator.

o      Donít turn drinks like milk or juice or soy on their sides. Mayonnaise or thick dressings are okay to leave on their sides.

o      Give cut desserts/pastries away. Freeze unopened desserts/pastries for next time. 

?      Toss out food that is questionable (e.g., moldy bread or hard noodles).

?      Check the ovens and refrigerators for leftovers.

?      Clean up the coffee service and snack/dessert tables.

?      Clean the stoves and counters. Wipe under the stove tops.

?      Wash all dishes that are leftóincluding pots, pans, roasters, and bowls.

?      Put all dishes, cookware, and serving implements away.

o      Cabinets and drawers are labeled with the correct placement of dishes and utensils.

o      Store the roasters and other cooking appliances.

?      Rinse out the dish tubs and wipe down the carts.

?      Turn off the dishwasher and clean the drains.

?      Run the garbage disposal and rinse the sinks.

?      Make sure that all stoves and faucets have been turned off.

Dining Room Clean-Up

?      Guests are responsible for putting pads up and cleaning their sleeping areas.

?      Ensure that all guests have removed their belongings. As necessary, remind them that they cannot leave their belongings on the property.

?      Restack the tables and chairs. Use a dolly to move the chairs so that the floor doesnít get scuffed.

?      Vacuum rugs by the entryway door to the Fellowship Hall and in the kitchen.

?      Take down and bring in the signs.

o      Donít forget the one on the corner of Territorial and Broadway.

?      Take out the garbage and recycle items. The garbage and recycling containers are located outside of the north door (back entrance) of the Fellowship Hall.

o      Do not recycle the banana boxes. They will be returned to Food for Lane County.

Pastorís Study clean-up

?      If the pastorís study was used, clean and vacuum the room and return the table and chairs to their positions.

Last Person Out

?      Check the temperature on the thermostats:

o      In the winter, turn down to 65 degrees.

o      In the summer, turn up to 75 degrees.

?      Check that all windows are closed.

o      Fellowship Hall

o      Classrooms

o      Nursery

?      Turn off the lights.

?      Lock the door(s). Check that all are shut and locked.

o      Front and side doors to Fellowship Hall.

o      Front and back doors to Narthex (foyer between Fellowship Hall and Sanctuary).

o      Doors to Pantry and Pastorís Study.