Nonprofit organization Veterans Christian Charity has opened a warming center in Lacey to serve the homeless population during the winter months.
Housed in the former Ace Korean BBQ restaurant at 6828 Martin Way E., the center will remain open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. any day through April when the weather is cold or wet or both.
The facility will serve as a donation hub for warm clothing, blankets and food, but also as a mailing address for homeless clients who need one to get a job.
The center opened Thursday to fill a void in the Lacey area for homeless men and women who cannot make it to Olympia for a shelter bed — that is, if any beds are even available. The center is about 5 miles east of downtown Olympia.
So far, center director Jack Potter is turning to local businesses for donations and financial assistance. His goal is to secure enough active donors to open more warming centers in Thurston County. Eventually he would like the warming center to serve as an overnight shelter as well.
Although the charity focuses on homeless veterans, all homeless people are welcome.
“This is a great place for people to come and get dry and get safe,” said Potter, an Army veteran who has struggled with homelessness himself. “If you’re already wet and it’s 38 degrees outside, you’ll freeze to death.”
Potter said the center will be available when the temperature dips to 40 degrees or lower, if it is 45 degrees with rain, or if it drops to 50 degrees with a combination of wind and rain. The center also will be open Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.
Thurston County mortgage broker Randy Luke, who owns South Sound Home Loans, helped seal a six-month deal to rent the property for $1 a month. The property is owned by Kaufman Real Estate LLC.
“We wanted to bring services out here,” Luke said.
To learn more, call Potter at 360-292-5608. Donations can be made online at veteranschristiancharity.org.
Warming center in Olympia
The Interfaith Works Winter Warming Center opened Monday at 408 Olympia Ave. NE, in the former Alpine Experience store in downtown Olympia. It will be open daily from 7 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. through March 31 to offer respite, warmth, and connection to services. For more information, call 360-918-8424 or email email@example.com.