The Ponoka Housing and Homelessness Committee’s overnight shelter mat program opened its doors on Jan. 31, 2020, but in order to stay open every night, more volunteers are needed.
Since Jan. 31, the program has been open every night except for one, as there weren’t any volunteers available for that night, according to committee member Lisa Hagemann.
So far, there are 55 volunteers signed up and approximately 28 showed up for the first two volunteer orientation sessions.
Regarding how many more volunteers are needed, Hagemann says there’s no limit.
“It’s the kind of program where we feel we could never have too many,” she said, adding it would be nice to have enough volunteers that everyone could do one or two shifts a month.
“We don’t want to burn anyone out.”
There are two upcoming volunteer recruitment and information sessions that anyone interested in volunteering for the program can attend to learn more about it. They will be on Feb. 29 at 2 p.m. and March 2 at 7 p.m. in the older brick part of the First Baptist Church, which is the home of the Mat Program.
It’s only been a few weeks, but so far everything has gone well. Multiple patrons have used the program to come in from the cold and there’s been positive feedback from both patrons and volunteers, says Hagemann.
“All patrons have expressed gratitude for having a place to stay.”