The Warm Room Shares Love, Care and Community

Carm and Chris at The Warm Room in Belleville
by juneli
Categories: Divisional News

By: June Li

Every year, The Salvation Army in Belleville operates a program called ‘The Warm Room’. Though the name suggests that it is a place of shelter from the blistering cold, a step inside the Warm Room will show you that it is much more than that. Rather it is a place of love, care, and community.

Every day from November 15th to March 15th, The Warm Room opens its doors between 6:00 – 8:30 pm for the community. Whether you are experiencing homelessness or are just looking for companionship, The Warm Room welcomes everyone in for a hot meal and refreshments. Provisions of winter accessories such as hats and mitts, along with sleeping bags and toiletries are also available.

“We have people from all walks of life come in,” says Carm Knapp, The Warm Room Volunteer Coordinator. “We have people who live on the street, teenagers, children, and families who go to The Warm Room. Some people just want to eat but others want to chat.”

For Chris, The Warm Room gives him a sense of self-worth where he feels safe and can be himself. When Chris’ life turned upside down, he felt alone and judged. One day, he ventured into The Warm Room. In the beginning, he went for just a meal but over time, he began to open up to others and build relationships. “If you need a listening ear you can always talk to Carm or one of the volunteers,” says Chris, “They are always there for you and will do their best to help.”

Carm explains that many individuals who visit The Warm Room find comfort in sharing their experiences with one another. Though The Warm Room doesn’t provide counselling, volunteers do their best to ensure that the needs of individuals are being met. “Many times, we refer them to agencies if they are needing assistance beyond our means,” explains Carm, “Other times, all they need is a smile and encouraging words.”

Whether someone is looking to watch a movie or to play table games, they know that they are in a place where they are cared for. “The Warm Room is a place where I don’t feel lonely,” says Chris.

“We provide a warm safe place for anyone to come for whatever reason,” says Carm, “We have become like family to each other.”