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“I think about them all day:” Organization that helps the homeless amid bitter cold needs volunteers

MILWAUKEE -- The bitter cold followed us into 2018, and with another wind chill advisory in effect on the first day of the new year, officials with an organization that helps the homeless made an appeal for donations -- but not the kind you might expect. Instead of warm clothing or food, they're asking that you donate your time.

Since Christmas, the Street Angels Milwaukee Outreach group has been working around the clock to help Milwaukee's homeless survive this brutally cold winter. Street Angels officials refer to them as their friends.

Street Angels Milwaukee Outreach warming shelter at Ascension Lutheran Church

"Playing cards. We've been doing some singing and some dancing. It's friendship is what it is," Eva Welch, co-founder said.

Eva Welch

Welch said on Monday, January 1st they were gearing up for their second straight week operating an emergency shelter in the gym at Ascension Lutheran Church. She said they're in desperate need of something money can't buy.

"For every 12 guests that we bring in, we have to have at least one volunteer," Welch said.

Welch and others with the Street Angels Milwaukee Outreach group are asking that you donate your time.

"If we have enough volunteers, we may be able to stay open," Welch said.

Welch said volunteers are needed for 4-hour shifts, mostly overnight.

The core members of the group balance their personal lives and full-time jobs while fulfilling their mission. This, as the bitter cold is already to blame for the deaths of two people on New Year's Eve in Milwaukee, according to the medical examiner.

"When I seen that, it hit home," Welch said.

Welch said the fear of losing someone to the bitter cold is what keeps the organization going.

"I've been doing this for 2.5 years and you start to create relationships. I think about them all day -- where are they going to go? Are they warm?" Welch said.

In the morning, those being helped through this organization will be given a bus pass and a $5 McDonald's gift card.

If you're interested in learning more about Street Angels Milwaukee Outreach, or becoming a volunteer, you're asked to please email: shelly@streetangelsmke.org