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Cold weather shelters expected to be busy as frigid temperatures arrive in Yakima

YAKIMA, Wash.-- With single digit temperatures expected this week in Yakima, several cold weather shelters are preparing to welcome a lot of people seeking relief.

For many who don't have a place to go to to keep out of the cold, being indoors truly brings a sense of relief.

Some shelters in the city are getting ready for more visitors as frigid temps are back in the valley.

"This is our bread and butter, so to speak, is just being ready for people and helping them out during these cold seasons," said Union Gospel Mission volunteer services director David Wells.

Leaders at The Mission expect their facility called "The Hub" to be packed.

They serve about 150 people every night, with some staying an entire day to eat, shower and do laundry.

Mission leaders make it a priority to help everyone who walks in the door.

"We're a really flexible shelter and so we've never had to turn anyone away for space reasons," Wells said.

"We're able to be flexible and make sure that we have space for everyone and anyone that's going to have that need to come stay here."

Central Lutheran Church also expects to be busy these next few days.

It's one of three local churches operated by Yakima Neighborhood Health that also provides a warm place to stay.

But to stay at one of the churches, people first have to register at the Depot.

Central Lutheran volunteers help the homeless by cooking meals and keeping personal belongings secure.

"They can get a good hard night's sleep knowing that they're OK, they're in a safe place, their stuff is safe and it'll be there in the morning," said Central Lutheran youth director Felicity Pittman.

Pastor Carolyn Hellerich says it's the least they can do for those less fortunate in the community.

"Learning that after Central Lutheran started doing this [last year] that nobody froze to death in Yakima that year and it's important to us that we can help the people who need," Hellerich said.

Leaders from both the Mission and Central Lutheran say volunteers are also in demand during the cold months to help accommodate for people staying in the shelters.

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