Warming Center, ECU Heat options for getting in out of the cold

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FARMINGTON — While Mainers will likely try to tough it out during this cold spell, a little help may be needed as the days of below-zero temperatures progress.  

“People are proud and may try to be self-sufficient,” said Tim Hardy, director of Franklin County Emergency Management. 

So far the agency has had no request for help, nor for a shelter to be set up in a public building, he said Thursday.

Likewise, Farmington Police Department and Wilton police had yet to receive any requests for help as the cold settled in. Farmington Fire & Rescue has not received any calls for help with chimney fires or frozen pipes, Deputy Chief Hardy said.

One option for people during this cold spell, Hardy said, is the opening of the  Ecumenical Warming Center in January.

• The Farmington Warming Center will open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 9, at Henderson Memorial Baptist Church, Pastor Susan Crane said.

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It provides a warm place, a hot meal and good company Tuesdays and Thursdays during January and part of February. The center is open only on Tuesdays in late February and March. Everyone, of all ages, is welcome.

Henderson Memorial hosts the Warming Center on Tuesdays, Jan. 9, 16, 23, 30 and Feb. 6 and 13. 

Old South Congregational Church hosts it Thursdays, Jan. 11, 18, 25 and Feb. 8 and 15.

St. Joseph’s Catholic Church will host the Warming Center on Tuesdays, Feb. 20, 27 and March 6, 13, 20 and 27.

• Another option for a warm meal is offered at Trinity United Methodist Church. The Fish & Loaves Luncheon featuring hot fish chowder and biscuits will take place at noon Wednesdays, January through March. The meal is canceled if there is no school because of stormy weather on those days.

• Western Maine Homeless Outreach in Farmington has a full house, coordinator Aly Livernois said Thursday. The 16-bed shelter is open 24 hours a day during the winter.

When the shelter receives calls, Livernois said she refers people to the Warming Center or local libraries and recreation centers. Beyond that, she refers people to homeless shelters such as those in Skowhegan, Waterville and Augusta, she said.

Western Maine Homeless Outreach is trying to find a larger shelter here, she said.

• For those who are cold in their homes because of a dwindling fuel source, Crane suggested seeking help from the ecumenical heating program, ECU HEAT. 

“The ’50 for $50′ program is glad to help those who have not already availed themselves of a fuel delivery this heating season,” she said.

People without any fuel who have already received help should check with Western Maine Community Action and ask for Judy Frost. If they already know they are going to be eligible for LIHEAP, but have not yet received their benefit letter, an emergency fuel delivery may be authorized in advance, if there are still enough federal funds available for emergency deliveries, she said.

“Our best bet for helping people who are cold at home is these programs,” she said. “If somebody is out of fuel and doesn’t have the $50 share for a 50-gallon delivery, they should check at their town hall for an application and some help. Churches also have the applications and can help by promising to pay the person’s share for them.”

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