To the Editor:

The homeless shelter in New Milford is seeking volunteers.

As the leaves turn color and fall, we are busy checking our oil tanks and furnaces, replenishing our wood piles, cleaning our chimneys and pellet stoves in preparation for keeping warm this winter.

Unfortunately, some of our neighbors are not so fortunate.

The New Milford Homeless Shelter Coalition is busy preparing to reach out and help those in need to keep warm throughout the coldest of the winter months.

We could use your help.

This will be our 15th year running an emergency transient shelter. We plan to open in the latter part of November and, with the generosity of St. John's Episcopal Church, St. Francis Xavier Church, the First Congregational Church and the Northville Baptist Church, we provide transitional shelter until April.

Our primary need is volunteers. We are a 100 percent volunteer-managed shelter and we ask if you are able to give your time -- perhaps one night a month, or several nights -- to keep the shelter open.

Overnight volunteers arrive at the hosting church between 9 and 9:15 p.m., bringing their own bedding and a cellphone, to check in with the coordinator and meet the guests.

We provide a male and female volunteer each night who get to sleep along with all the other guests until 5:30 a.m. Everybody is out of the church by 6 a.m. We have been averaging five to 10 guests per night, depending on weather and circumstance.

If you are interested in being an overnight volunteer, please contact Gerri Holland at 860-354-5917.

The coordinators will have training sessions Thursday, Oct. 23, and Friday, Oct. 24, at 7 p.m. at St. John's Episcopal Church.

Contributions are always welcome. Again, we are a 100 percent volunteer contributed, nonprofit that receives no money from the town, the state or the federal government.

Our budget is stream-lined but we do have expenses.

Our biggest expense is insurance. We contribute to the host churches, we provide bedding for our guests, we have laundry costs and, in cooperation with a local coffee shop, we provide a hot cup of coffee and a roll in the morning for each guest.

All this adds up to between $6,000 and $7,000 each season.

The shelter can provide a record for tax purposes when you donate.

Donations can be mailed to New Milford Homeless Shelter, P.O. Box 1016, New Milford, CT 06776.

Please consider reaching out to help all people in New Milford stay warm and safe this winter. We thank you for your past support and your future generosity.

Rufus de Rham

President

Homeless Shelter

Coalition

New Milford