Partnership Brought Warmth to Fannin

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The News Observer
Wednesday, January 18

By Glenn HarBison

“A great partnership between a lot of groups,” Sherry Morris said. Morris, who heads Fannin County Family Connection, used the words to describe how everyone came together and operated a warming shelter during the bitterly cold weather over the Christmas holiday.

The shelter was open five nights and served as many as ten people overnight. There were also several who came during the day but didn’t spend the night, Morris said.

Family Connection coordinated and was the site of the shelter where the county’s emergency services, several local businesses, church groups and countless individuals all pitched in to make sure the county’s homeless and those without heat had a warm place to stay.

The shelter was operated 24-hours-a-day, staffed by volunteers. Morris made her comment at a meeting last week of several of those involved. The focus was to look back and see what could be done better in looking to establish another such shelter in the future.

Preparation, transportation, communication and parameters as to when to open a shelter were all discussed.

Among the preparations will be to create a database of volunteers willing to work in a shelter. Morris urges anyone who would serve to call Family Connection at 706-632-6063. Also considered were additional medical supplies, training for volunteers, communication and transportation to reach those in need, and enhanced communications with the county 911 center.

Morris expressed special thanks to the Fannin County Sheriff’s Office, saying deputies came by every hour when the shelter was open.

Also singled out for their help were Ingles, Food Lion, Bumblebees, the Yellowphant Cafe, and Ep- worth First Baptist Church. The shelter “was full of food,” one volunteer commented.