HONESDALE - With no significant warmup predicted in the next 10 days, the emergency shelter at Grace Episcopal Church is open for the homeless or people without heat in their residences.
The shelter, whose slogan is "Warmth in the Night," is open from 7 p.m. until 7 a.m. when the temperature dips below zero degrees Fahrenheit.
Volunteers from the church, at 827 Church Street, will staff the shelter, which is run by the Rev. Edward Erb and his wife Sue.
The church has opened its doors to those in need for the past four years. It is the only one available for those in need in Wayne and Pike counties.
In addition to sleeping arrangements, a simple supper and breakfast are available, as well as a shower.
The church also works with Catholic Social Services to help visitors if they need permanent housing.
Grace Episcopal is in need of volunteers who could stay overnights or be on call as needed.
For information, or to volunteer with the shelter, call the parish office at (570) 253-2760.
In addition to shelter and meals, Grace Episcopal offers cold-weather gear and blankets to dozens of people.
The church is looking for donated goods such as:
• Good-condition long underwear for men and women
• New men's briefs, especially medium and large
• Men's gloves
• Good-condition sweat shirts for men and women
• Disposable, to-go coffee cups with lids, as well as coffee, especially decaffeinated.
The shelter opened in November and has accommodated 50 guests.
Meanwhile, the following tips are offered for people, particularly the elderly:
• Draw curtains at dusk and keep doors closed to block out draughts.
• Have regular hot drinks and eat at least one hot meal a day if possible. Eating regularly helps keep energy levels up during winter.
• Wear several light layers of warm clothes.
• Keep as active in your home as possible.
• Wrap up warm and wear shoes with a good grip if you need to go outside on cold days.
• If you have reduced mobility, are 65 or over, or have a health condition such as heart or lung disease, you should heat your home to at least 18C and make sure you wear enough clothes to stay warm.
• If you're under 65 and healthy, you can safely have your house cooler than 18C.
PPL Electric Utilities reported that the frigid temperatures produced a new peak power-usage record Friday among customers.
Preliminary figures show a new mark of 7,883 megawatt-hours, which breaks the old mark of 7,816 megawatt-hours set in January 2014.
That means customers used 7.88 million kilowatt-hours of electricity during that one-hour period, enough to power about 700 homes for a year.