Bethel Winter House to open for sixth season on Dec. 1st

The Bethel Winter House, a shelter for those needing a warm place to sleep at night, will be opening its doors on December 1st, 2018 for its sixth season of service. The Bethel Evangelical Covenant Church has stepped up and will be hosting the Bethel Winter House again this year.
Those spending the night at the Winter House will also be offered a hot nutritious homecooked meal made by caring volunteers.
The shelter began as a grassroots effort by a group of concerned community members who wanted to do something about the fatalities due to exposure during the cold winter months in Bethel. In the years prior to the establishment of the Winter House, exposure-related deaths numbered around 4-7 each winter.
In October 2013, community members had a meeting to discuss the issue of homelessness and to think of a solution to prevent future fatalities.
“At the meeting, community members expressed concern for people who were poorly dressed for the extreme cold and without a warm place to sleep other than the local women’s shelter and the Sobering Center. The acting manager of the Sobering Center told the group that in some instances, people would drink too much alcohol just to qualify to stay in the sobering center and out of the cold weather,” said Winter House organizers through their website. “The group made the decision to organize as the Bethel Winter Shelter Lions Club. The Bethel Evangelical Covenant Church and the Catholic Church stepped forward and took turns hosting the shelter for a month at a time, from late December 2013 to March 2014. That first winter, the shelter operated seven nights a week with a staff of volunteers. Each day, they offered a hot meal in the evening and a quick breakfast in the morning. They also distributed donations of new socks and winter gear to clients when not in operation.”
During the 5th winter of operation last winter, the Bethel Winter House was hosted by the Covenant Church. The doors opened on December 1st, 2017 offering warm housing from 9pm to 7am. Here are the statistics from the 2017-2018 report:
A total of 157 individuals were served.
The average number of people staying at the Winter House was 15 per night.
The highest census night was 27.
The lowest census night was 4.
The number of nights with less than 10 people staying was 10.
The number of nights with 10-19 guests staying was 88 nights.
The number of nights with 20-27 guests staying was 22 nights.
Donations from the community and local businesses made it possible for the shelter to serve hot meals 6 days per week.
A meal calendar has been set up for those who would like to help with providing dinner for the guests of the Winter House. It can be accessed through Winter House website at Some volunteer cooks have already signed up to bring delicious sounding dishes – moose roast sandwiches, moose stew with biscuits, moose with sides, moose spaghetti and veggies, baked salmon with rice, baked enchiladas, creamy chicken and rice, and pot roast. There are many more open nights for others to contribute.
Donations can also be made, please contact the Bethel Winter House to donate. The Bethel Winter House is a 501(c)3 organization and has a six member board.
The shelter will open on December 1st, 2018.