Logan warming center opens just in time for near-zero temperatures Monday

Dec 19, 2022, 6:38 PM | Updated: Dec 20, 2022, 10:57 am

LOGAN, Utah — Just as the Cache Valley is experiencing an especially cold December, a nonprofit geared up to help people who need help surviving a cold overnight.

It’s fortuitous that the Willam A. Burnard Warming Center opened in time for this week’s extremely cold temperatures.

Organizers got working on this idea just about a year ago.

“We don’t really have a place here in Cache Valley for folks who are unhoused to go during winter months,” Nichole Burnard said. She is a social worker and graduate student at Utah State University.

“Last winter I was going out. That night I found eight people sleeping in their vehicles, single-digit temperatures,” she said.

Through her outreach efforts, she found there was a need.

“That’s our goal, is to keep opening every night during that time, all the way through March,” she explained.

The William A. Burnard Warming Center is in the back of St. John's Episcopal Church in Logan. (KSL TV) Nichole Burnard said her grandfather William A. Burnard inspired her to create a warming center. (KSL TV) The William A. Burnard Warming Center is in the back of St. John's Episcopal Church in Logan. (KSL TV) Nichole Burnard said her grandfather William A. Burnard inspired her to create a warming center. (KSL TV)

She set up a place where anyone can go to get out of the cold. Right now, it’s in the back of St. John’s Episcopal Church.

“It gives me goosebumps just how it’s come together so quickly,” Burnard said.

She said it means a lot that the community came together to get it open right away. “Really, it almost just, like, warms my heart because it’s like, meant to be that we’re opening up, right?”

Burnard’s grandfather inspired the idea.

“William A. Burnard. He went by Bill Burnard,” she said. He was a social worker also who earned his degree in his 50s. “And then he actually was the found of the Children’s Justice Center. He was the first director of the Children’s Justice Center here,” she said.

His life started to unravel after an injury and an addiction to painkillers. Most of his family did not know.

“And so he did end up, he was living out of his vehicle in, like, January and February of 2022 and he did end up taking his life,” she said.

That’s a big reason why this place was open Monday night.

“Anyone of us could find ourselves in a situation that we never would have imagined,” Burnard said.

So far the warming center has served about 15 people. They’re expecting multiple families Monday night.

Organizers have many needs including donations and volunteers.

Click here to donate.

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Logan warming center opens just in time for near-zero temperatures Monday