We've had a pretty decent winter with temperatures around 45 degrees as late as last week. Then mother nature decided to give us the cold shoulder over the weekend. It seemed like someone flipped the switch and the weather changed just like that. I made a trip to the grocery store early yesterday morning with the wind, snow, and 15 degree temperature serving as confirmation that I was a bit underdressed.

I think I really realized how cold it was when I pulled up to order at Starbucks and my window wouldn't roll down because it was frozen shut. I felt a little less foolish when I pulled around the corner and the car in front of me had their door open to pay for their order like I was about to do moments later. The barista was very assuring that I was just one of many people in that same situation.

The weather is only going to get worse this week with highs in the single digits on Thursday and Friday - and that means the homeless shelters in Missoula will be seeing an increasing number of visitors looking to get out of the cold. The Poverello Center on West Broadway can sleep 88 people with COVID-19 restrictions in place. The Poverello Center's Winter Shelter on Johnson Street operates around the clock and can sleep an additional 150 people.

“... the weather is so cold that we need to get as many people inside as possible, we are going to be looking at temperatures at night at the lowest 20 below which is deadly.” Director of Development and Advocacy Jesse Jaeger from this NBC MONTANA story.

The Poverello Center is looking for donations of warm clothing and winter essentials. Donations of hats, gloves, scarves and more - along with monetary donations - can be made HERE.

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