The new warming shelter in Rochester couldn't be opening at a better time! The temps have dipped into the negatives and although it isn't officially winter on the calendar, it feels like it.

There has been a lot of discussion about our homeless population in Rochester and this is a conversation I have been having for a few years as I've worked with kids and have been a speaker to local groups.  I used to work with a program called Teen MOPS and we had several teens that lived with their babies in our culverts or slept in tents behind Walmart.  I've watched a building manager scream at a homeless man for smoking on a bench outside their facility and shoo them away, with some pretty nasty words.  I've also watched a manager of a store show compassion and help a family that was sitting in their entryway with all of their belongings.

Rochester has a population of people that are homeless.  That is a fact.  Regardless of where you stand on people sleeping in our skyways and sitting on our corners asking for money, no one should ever have to sleep outside in weather that is dangerous.

The Rochester Community Warming Center will be open daily starting in mid-December from 9pm until 7am and will be serving adults that are 18 and older.  It will open but more volunteers and donations are needed to help those in our community who will be using this facility.  Here's how you can help:

  • Volunteer!  Two shifts are available that you can sign up for (8pm to 2am and 2am untitl 8am)  Get more info and sign up by contacting Tricia Kramer, the Rochester Community Warming Center Coordinator at or phone: 507-287-2047, ext. 33.
  • Donate - (contact Tricia Kramer at 507-287-2047 ext 33 for drop off times)
    • gift cards for local grocery stores (to be used to purchase food for the Warming Center)
    • Laundry detergent
    • Toilet paper
    • Toiletries (travel size: soap, shampoo, shaving cream, razors, etc.)
    • Hats and mittens
    • Socks
    • Dish Soap
    • Kitchen items: individually packaged snacks, cereal, and bread
    • Juice boxes
    • Milk boxes
    • Bread
    • Cereal
    • Coffee
    • Granola Bars
    • Apples or seasonal fruit
    • Microwaveable meals
    • Crackers
    • Non-perishable food items
    • Paper products - plates, plastic utensils, bowls, etc.
    • Cleaning items (cleaning solutions, abrasive pads, toilet bowl cleaner, etc.)
    • A broom and dustpan
    • Plungers for the 3 bathrooms

What other ways can we show our local love to those who live and visit Rochester?  I’d love to hear your ideas!  Send me a message on my Facebook page (Jessica On The Radio) or DM me on Instagram.

Listen to Jessica Williams weekdays from 9 am until 12 pm on Y105FM!

Jessica plays Country’s Greatest Hits weekdays from 12 pm - 6 pm on 103.1 KFIL!

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