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MAC Home prepares for an increase in warming center visits as wind chills drop to 30 below

The MAC Home offers warm drinks as well as hats, gloves, and costs at its warming center.
The MAC Home offers warm drinks as well as hats, gloves, and costs at its warming center.

On top of creating dangerous travel conditions, these high winds are also creating extremely low wind chill values.

The National Weather Service is forecasting wind chills between 15 and 30 below zero over the next couple of days.

Meteorologists and emergency responders are warning people not to venture out if they don’t have to in these conditions.

But for those without a permanent home, that might not be an option.

The Merrill Community Homeless Center or MAC Home is preparing for a potential increase in people seeking their services.

Theresa Anthoney is the MAC Home Executive Director. She says just because you don’t see people sleeping on park benches or under bridges in the Northwoods, doesn’t mean there aren’t people experiencing homelessness.

“It’s more silent. You may not know somebody’s homeless because it’s either two or three families staying in one house. Or somebody that’s staying with friends. That is still homelessness. If you don’t have shelter to call your own, you’re homeless,” she said.

But with the holidays and visiting family, there may not be room in places people usually count on.

It’s one of the reasons, Anthoney is expecting to see an increase in people coming through the MAC Home in Merrill this week.

That and the cold temperatures.

MAC Home does have longer-term transitional housing, but it’s also open as a warming center.

“A lot of times they’re stopping in to ask for gloves or hats, scarves. We do have all those available. We also have winter coats available. Sometimes people just don’t have necessities, so we have all that available if people need them. They can stop in and ask for that,” said Anthoney.

They also offer hot beverages to warm people up.

The warming center is normally open from 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m., but the shelter is staffed 24/7, so in weather like this they’ll let people in during the day to warm up.

Anthoney says anyone in need shouldn’t hesitate to come or call at 715-722-1200. The MAC Home is located at 407 W Main Street, Merrill, WI.

“That’s what we’re here for. We’re here to help,” she said.

People can also support the MAC Home with donations of winter gear like hats, gloves, and jackets, cleaning supplies, or with a monetary donation.

You can learn more on the MAC Home website.

Katie Thoresen is WXPR's News Director/Vice President.
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