MIAMI COUNTY — Arctic air moved into the area Wednesday night, bringing with it school and business closings and the need for residents to be extra careful in their travelings.
St. Joseph’s House in Troy, a cold shelter for men run by Dick Steineman of the St. Pat’s Soup Kitchen, is seeing one to two men each night since the weather turned colder, he said. He said while Troy has both the Miami County Family Abuse shelter for women and children, and the Buckeye House for men helping those in need, he opens a cold shelter each year as well.
“It’s imperative that people stay inside in this weather,” Steineman said.
Steineman said he can pick up those in need up if necessary if they call him at (937) 451-1723.
Donations of blankets of pillows are needed, and can be dropped off at the soup kitchen.
The cold shelter at Piqua’s Bethany Center, which usually operates overnight, will be running “24/7 the next couple days,” according to Cathy Large, assistant to Director Wilma Earls. Instead of being turned out the next day, visitors will have a place to keep warm if they choose to stay.
“Under normal circumstances, people leave about 8-8:30 in the morning, but we don’t want them out in the cold, especially since 99 percent of the people walk here,” Large explained.
To stay overnight, guests must be at the Bethany Center, located at 339 South St., before 9 p.m. Large said there’s no limit to the number of people who can stay at the shelter. “We take as many as we can, even if we have to make space on the floor,” she said.
Volunteers are always needed at the cold shelter, Large added. Those interested can contact Emma Nicodemus at (937) 773-2500 or (937) 214-5588.
The Bethany Center also serves lunch from noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, and they have a clothing bank if you are in need of extra layers. Call (937) 615-9762 for more information.
Those looking for a place to get out of the cold in Tipp City can contact the Tipp City Police Department for assistance. The police department and Tipp Monroe Community Services will provide a night in a hotel room and a hot meal to those without a place to stay.
TMCS Director Kathy Taylor said people should go to the police department, located at 260 S. Garber Drive, and apply. The department can also be reached at (937) 667-3112.
In New Carlisle, First United Methodist Church on Main Street is open to the public through noon Friday. To reach the church with questions, call (937) 845-8435.
Local libraries are offering refuge from the cold, including the Troy-Miami County Public Library, 419 W. Main St., Troy. In addition, the library has winter wear to give away to those in need. Library hours are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday; and 1-5 p.m. Sunday.
“Many places have closed due to the extremely low temperatures but our staff was concerned about people who need a place to go so we chose to remain open,” said Executive Director Rachelle Miller. “Business has been steady and our Giving Tree continues to be popular. We started the Giving Tree last year as an outlet for people who wanted to donate hats, scarves, or gloves, but weren’t able to put them downtown as in previous years.”
Miller said those in need can take a free hat, gloves, and scarf, which are available any time the library is open.
“We have had some beautiful handmade items along with very nice store-bought items. The tree and accompanying bin have been emptied and filled about three times to date and the cold weather didn’t even set in until recently,” she said “We will continue collecting and distributing items for a few more weeks or longer if needed.”
The Giving Tree also features a community organization monthly that is in need of items and patrons are able to drop off items for that organization. The library has collected socks for Health Partners, pantry items for Partners in Hope, letters for Honor Flight, children’s books for Isaiah’s Place and others. Next week, the library will start a food drive for St. Pat’s Soup Kitchen. Information on the Giving Tree is posted on the library’s Facebook page.
Those in need of a free meal to warm their bellies can go to St. Pat’s at 25 N. Mulberry St., Troy, every weekday between 5 and 6 p.m. There are no requirements to eat at the facility and no one will ask you to register or ask for your information. For more information, call (937) 335-7939.
On their Facebook page, the Piqua Public Library beckons, “Come warm up with us!” Located at 116 W. High St., the library is open 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Ken Siler, executive director of Hobart Arena in Troy, said the facility is open to walkers from 7 .m. to 10 p.m. daily unless there are scheduled events in the arena, which can double as a place for those in need to come in from the cold. There is a no-walking schedule posted on the website at hobartarena.com that offers the hours the public is not permitted in the arena.
One of the coldest Arctic air mass intrusions in recent memory is surging south into the Upper Midwest before spreading across much of the eastern two-thirds of the country, according to the National Weather Service in Wilmington, which serves Miami County.
Through late week, expect frigid temperatures, bitterly cold and life-threatening wind chills, likely leading to widespread record lows and low maximum temperatures from the Upper Midwest to the Great Lakes and Ohio Valley.
According to the NWS, a wind chill advisory, meaning the combination of very cold air and the wind will create dangerously low wind chill values, remains in effect until 1 p.m. Thursday. Continued dangerously cold wind chills expected, with wind chills as low as 40 below zero expected, causing frostbite on exposed skin in as little as 10 minutes.