BF Warming Shelter Hires Coordinator

The Greater Falls Warming Shelter has hired Samuel Neill of Saxtons River as coordinator to oversee its operations.

Neill is taking on the responsibility of opening the shelter each evening, coordinating the volunteer and meal schedules, assisting with the guest check in, and enforcing the shelter rules.

The shelter is open every night during the winter months from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m., with volunteers on hand in two shifts.

Neill is a 2009 graduate of Tufts University with a degree in sociology. While in college, he worked as program assistant in Americorp's Jump Start program, where he handled many of the human resources responsibilities, including payroll, member training and recruitment campaigns of the mentoring program.

Neill said he was attracted to the position with the warming shelter not only because it is a logical step from his academic experience, but because is "on the ground."

"It gives instant feedback," he said. "You know that what you're doing is having an impact on people's lives as soon as you do it."

In his first week on the job, he was told by a guest of the shelter that it had "saved my life."

Neill sees getting the word out and reaching people who need the shelter as one of the challenges he and the shelter committee are facing.

"This is a great group of people, and we're always looking for more volunteers," he said.

Anyone wishing to volunteer can leave a message at the shelter at 463-3355 or e-mail bfwarmingshelter @yahoo.com.

The shelter is located at 24 Canal Street in Bellows Falls. Its mission is to provide a safe, warm overnight shelter during the winter months for those in need.

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