MORGANTOWN — Put simply, the Monongalia County Warming Shelter is overwhelmed and running out of money.
It needs your help.
So if you’re up to the task, why not head to 123 Pleasant Street Monday evening and do your part by having a beer and some laughs — maybe a bowl of soup.
Warm Up! A Community Event to Benefit the Monongalia County Warming Shelter will feature local food, brews, music and comedy for a cause.
“We have five local musicians who have donated their talents. We have four comedians donating their talents. We have six or eight restaurants who have donated soups and breads and things like that. We also have five breweries from the area who are donating beer for the event,” Morgantown Deputy Mayor Danielle Trumble said.
The cover charge will be whatever you’re compelled to donate to assist the warming shelter.
“Beer sales, you’ll have to pay for that, but the food and the entertainment should be included by coming in. We’re hoping people will be generous and help our neighbors, but we would like the event to be open to all,” Trumble said. “If you can donate, great. If not, still come and hang out. It will be a family friendly event, at least for the first several hours.”
Doors will open at 5:30 p.m.
Entertainment for the evening will include music from Kelsie Cannon, Chris Haddox, Jamie Lester, Mary Linscheid and Tommy Thompson, alongside the comedy of Cody Cannon, Ty Colgate, Liam Nelson and Ciara Peacock.
Chestnut Brew Works, High Ground Brewing, Morgantown Brewing Company, Short Story Brewing and Neighborhood Kombuchery have donated suds for the event to pair with offerings from Von Blaze, Madeleine Marie’s, Black Bear Burrito, Venerable Bean and others.
Trumble, who also serves on the Morgantown Community Resources Board of Directors, explained why such an event is necessary.
“[The warming shelter] thought they could expect 20 or 25 people a night and they’ve been having, pretty reliably, 65 people a night, so that’s required more staffing and more supplies. They’re going through their funding much quicker than they anticipated,” she said. “As of last week they said they would be about $25,000 short.”
The shelter was initially funded to be open 24 hours a day for 105 days by matching $38,041 contributions from Morgantown City Council and the Monongalia County Commission, as well as $15,000 from the Mylan Puskar Foundation and $5,500 from Your Community Foundation.
But for multiple reasons, the utilization of the shelter is outstripping those resources.
One of those reasons was highlighted during the recent point-in-time count, which counts the number of individuals who are unhoused on a single night in January. This year’s total of 122 was a 16% jump over last year.
“We’ll be asking for a donation at the door. Certainly the money component is very much needed and appreciated, but more than anything, this is about the messaging of the need to better address what we’re dealing with as a community right now,” 123 Pleasant Street owner LJ Giuliani said.
“That 65 people we’re seeing in the shelter right now — that could be 100 next year. Are we going to stick our head in the sand or are we going to start crafting a plan that’s going to address that need? It is a need. We have men and women in our community who we are tasked to help.”
In addition to money, donations of supplies like large trash bags, paper plates and bowls, plastic cutlery, packaged snacks and coffee are also appreciated.