January 24, 2014

Whitfield EMA, CERT help Harvest Outreach with warming shelter

Submitted by Whitfield County government  

— For three days in January, Whitfield County EMA (Emergency Management Agency) and Whitfield County CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) supported Harvest Outreach with a warming shelter operation at the North Georgia Fairgrounds Multi-Purpose Building, 500 Legion Drive.

Those without heat during the polar vortex Jan. 6-8 could drop by, stay the night, warm up,  get something to eat and even pick up supplies to help prepare for the cold weather.

Volunteers from the community assisted Harvest in many ways including staffing the shelter alongside CERT and donating blankets, jackets, food and gloves.

Whitfield EMA Director Claude Craig, Deputy Director Jeff Ownby and Specialist Amy Cooley assisted Harvest with logistics, resourcing and staffing of the shelter. American Red Cross also supported the operation by supplying a shelter trailer with cots and blankets.

“I really want to thank the community for coming together with such an outpouring of support,” Craig said.

Bob Cummings (Bob’s Wrecker Service) and Kasey Carpenter (The Oakwood) donated fuel and standing propane heaters to help keep things cozy in the shelter.

Dalton Fire Department personnel also came by and helped with getting some things set up,  picked up donated coffee from the RaceTrac, and left their large coffee vessel to use.

Dalton Police Department officers patrolled the shelter every hour or so, and both law enforcement agencies along with all public safety encouraged those on the streets they came in contact with to visit the shelter to get warm and stay warm.

At least three and sometimes four CERT members stayed 7-8 hour shifts from Monday at 7 p.m. until Wednesday at 7 a.m. staffing the shelter alongside local volunteers from the community and Harvest.

Three people stayed the first night, but a steady stream of people dropped by and warmed up and took supplies they needed. The second night, five people stayed and many came by for supplies.