Winter blessing - Coeur d'Alene Press: Local News

Winter blessing

Fresh Start keeps doors open longer as temp drops

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Posted: Tuesday, January 1, 2013 12:00 am

COEUR d'ALENE - Lynn Tarbox glanced out the front window of Fresh Start on Monday morning, and saw the silver car pull up.

He watched as a man and woman got out, went around and opened the trunk. They began removing brown bags and cardbox boxes and carrying them toward the door of the drop-in homeless center at 16th and Sherman.

Tarbox smiled as he stood up.

"This goes on all day," said the Fresh Start board member. "People in this community are sensational."

Floyd and Carol Draine of Post Falls didn't want much credit for their contribution of 75 sack lunches and boxes of cereal they delivered around 10:30 a.m.

Though they paid for most of the expenses and worked on the lunches, they said members of Gateway Church pitched in.

"We know there's a need here," Floyd Draine said. "No matter what the reason they're here, they need help."

His wife said it's important to give to others.

"Human to human," she said.

Fresh Start, already open 13 nights this winter due to cold weather, is expecting to see even more overnight guests as the mercury drops into the teens this week.

More than 30 people stayed there Sunday night, and that many or more are likely to show up as word gets out that Fresh Start is open when it drops below 25 degrees.

Dennis Hardwick and Vera Graham said Fresh Start "has been a blessing" this winter.

Not only is it a place to shower, wash and dry laundry, check the Internet for job possibilities, get a bite to eat and just rest, "it's a place to go when it's freezing in the morning," Graham said.

The couple has spent some nights at St. Vincent de Paul's warming shelter in Post Falls and some outside. When Fresh Start closes at noon, they'll sometimes head to the Coeur d'Alene library to stay warm and read.

Hardwick was laid off a few months ago, and hasn't found work, so money is tight. He appreciates Fresh Start because it "keeps people out of the cold. That's the main thing.

"There's not a whole lot of resources out there to get people off the streets when it's freezing cold."

Tarbox said with an increase in demand for its services, Fresh Start can always use more donations.

Cash is always a nice gift, because Fresh Start's costs climb for utilities and staff when it's open longer hours.

There was worry a few months back, with donations down and costs up, it wouldn't be able to maintain its budget.

But a recent wave of contributions has eased worries.

What's needed most now are men's clothing, socks, tents, tarps and sleeping bags.

"These folks are out sleeping at night in tents," he said.

One particular item that's hard to keep in stock, especially with the drop in temperature, is coffee. It's the first thing most go for when arriving at the center after a frigid night outside.

Sugar, cream and Styrofoam cups go quickly, too.

"I bought 38 pounds of coffee last week. That will last us about a week," he said. "At this time of year, we go through coffee."

Fresh Start's regular hours are 7:30 to noon, Monday through Saturday.

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  • mister d posted at 3:42 pm on Tue, Jan 1, 2013.

    mister d Posts: 1531

    It's hard to argue about he realities of the library. There are jobs out there for those searching. They may not pay a lot, but thy are there, just need to exert some effort. If the free ride was gone I am sure there would be a lot less homeless in the CDA area.

  • my own opinion posted at 2:11 pm on Tue, Jan 1, 2013.

    my own opinion Posts: 397

    With everything free and the taxpayer paying the bills at some point these people have no desire to move away to find work if it is not here, because everything is done for them like a bunch of stray cats hanging around. I expect all the looser supporters to start the guilt trip postings to bash my opinion. I am not mean but so tired of being taken advantage of. I am a taxpayer and the library is full of these low life's sitting around like it was their living room making it hard for people who pay taxes to enjoy the library it is for everyone but when the furniture stinks from dirty people and the floor wet from people washing in the bathroom this has to stop please.

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