People in the Waterville area and surrounding towns need to know about an important issue: the Waterville Warming Center.

The center closed recently for the season, and we don’t know whether it will re-open in December since the center is funded by the United Way.

I believe we really need this center to re-open, since it serves the homeless shelter residents as well as anyone needing a warm place to go to during the day. People may not need its services now, but might next winter.

People staying at the homeless shelter are sent out at 7:30 a.m. and cannot return until 4 p.m. They walk to the warming center on Water Street in all kinds of weather — blizzards, snowstorms and rain — some carrying children and pushing carriages. They come in sick and with children who are sick.

We offer clean sofas and blankets for them to rest on. They can find fellowship with other guests while having a hot drink or read or watch TV. The kids have fun in the play area. Snacks are provided when donated. No one is turned away.

These people are not hobos, as some think; they are people down on their luck. We volunteers socialize with our guests while monitoring them. They sign in and out.

I hope people will help keep the warming center open by contacting the United Way to see how they can help.

Nancy DeRoche

Benton