SIULAW alum, Brandon Woudenberg ‘16, President of the Carbondale Warming Center, is interviewed by local ABC affiliate, WSIL TV3, about receiving a $50,000 donation to the Center from LiUNA.

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SIULAW alum, Brandon Woudenberg ‘16, President of the Carbondale Warming Center, is interviewed by local ABC affiliate, WSIL TV3, about receiving a $50,000 donation to the Center from LiUNA.

November 13, 2020, By Brooke Schlyer | WSILTV3

Brandon Woudenburg

CARBONDALE (WSIL) -- As the temperatures cool, a big donation will keep folks in need warm. 

On Thursday, the Laborers Local 773 donated $50,000 to the Carbondale Warming Center. The gesture was made possible through the group's Laborer's Care Charity. 

The Carbondale Warming Center provides a safe place for families or individuals to stay and serves around 40 people at one time.

It had been scheduled to close for the season in April of this year, but has remained open indefinitely during the pandemic.

Brandon Woudenburg, Warming Center Board President, says many places their residents would go to keep warm during the day such as the library or other public spots are closed or have limited hours.

The pandemic also changed how the center operates. Staff are needed on-site at all times since the facility became 24/7 and its volunteer program ended.

Woudenburg says they are fortunate to receive the help, especially when so many other non-profits have canceled fundraising efforts.

"I mean it's just humbling. It means everything," he explains. "It it also says to me, what we are doing here is taking notice."  

Over the past year, the Carbondale Warming center has served more than 30,000 meals and provided a roof over head for about 200 people. 

Jerry Womick, Business Manager for Laborers Local 773, says many do not realize needing services like the warming center offers is something that can happen to anyone. 

"I think when you hear about homeless or hungry, I didn't even quite understand what that meant, it affects everyone" he explains. "It's all ages. All races. Any domination and any whatever field of politics you're from."

Each the month, the laborers have been transporting groceries from a food bank in Fairfield to the warming center. It was costing the facility hundreds of dollars each trip. 

The Carbondale Warming Center relies on grants and donations from financial to clothing and food, as well as, cutlery and toiletries.

For those interested in learning more or wanting to help out, you can visit the facility's website or Facebook page.

Watch the interview here.