Warming Centers - Brother's Keeper

Ronald Smiley, of Gary, waits to get picked up by a friend inside Brother's Keeper on Friday in Gary. The shelter is one of many centers around the Region serving as a warming center during the cold weather.

Kale Wilk, The Times

Sub-zero temperatures and severe wind chill factors are sufficient reason to grouse about the weather we're currently enduring.

Some of us — the ones who try to fry an egg on the sidewalk on the hottest summer days, no doubt — are blowing bubbles to watch them freeze, or tossing hot water into the air to watch it freeze midflight. They're making the best of the bitter cold.

Others are worrying about whether their car will start after work, or their tires will go flat, or break down alongside the road and leave drivers and passengers stranded. Hopefully, people are carrying blankets and other emergency gear in their cars.

But if all you have to worry about is getting from one warm place to another, remember there are those who have it worse.

For people who don't have a home of their own, or who have inadequate heat for whatever reason, warming centers are available throughout the Region.

Last Friday afternoon, about a dozen people bundled up in jackets and hats were at Brother's Keeper, 2120 Broadway in Gary. Michael Russell, 60, was staying overnight at the shelter. He praised Mary Edwards, the shelter's executive director for the past 30 years.

"If it weren't for Ms. Edwards, I'd probably be sleeping in a cardboard box on the streets," Russell said.

We are fortunate in the Region to have options even for those who are down on their luck, with no job and no family willing or able to take care of them.

In this dangerously cold weather, check on friends, family and neighbors to make sure they’re OK and steer them toward help as needed.

Find this editorial at nwi.com/opinion for a map of Region warming centers. Be sure to call ahead to verify hours.

If you're calling from a phone with the 219 area code, you can ask for help by calling 211, an information and referral service. In an emergency, call 911.

And for those who operate these warming centers, we offer our thanks. In weather like this, you are saving lives as well as easing our neighbors' burdens.

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Members of The Times Editorial Board are Publisher Christopher T. White, Editorial Page Editor Marc Chase, Editor Bob Heisse, Politics/History Editor Doug Ross and Managing Editor Erin Orr.