Keeping people out of the cold in La Crosse

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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) -- Wesley United Methodist Church in La Crosse wants to make sure people have a warm place to go.

Reverend Ellen Rasmussen said the shelter at her church is open 24 hours a day.

“It fulfills part of our mission as disciples of Jesus Christ that we are to care for our neighbor,” said Rasmussen.

She said right now volunteers are being coordinated to help through Wednesday morning, but she said the shelter will stay open as long as there is a need.

“To be able to have a place where you can be physically safe, and then to have a time to rest and recover, because it’s exhausting to survive out in this extreme weather,” said Rasmussen.

Rasmussen said pets are welcome to stay too as long as they have a leash, kennel or cage.

Plus, Kwik Trip and WAFER Food Pantry have donated food and drinks.

The Salvation Army in La Crosse has opened this lounge to people from midnight to 4:30 a.m.

However, you have to have a referral from the La Crosse Warming Center at First Baptist Church.

The La Crosse Warming Center’s coordinator said more people show up than it had room for on Tuesday and Wednesday, and has been referring people to the Salvation Army and Wesley United Methodist Church.

Social services director Kelley Bundy said the Salvation Army doesn’t want anyone to have to be outside in the cold.

“When we did the homeless memorial a few weeks ago, and we realized how many people had passed away over the year. Our goal is to really make sure nobody has to pass away outside this year,” said Bundy.

Bundy said the Salvation Army hasn’t decided yet how long its lounge will be open.

She also said if you’re looking to stay at the Salvation Army’s regular shelter, you should call before coming.

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