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Nearly a dozen warming centers open in Bangor amid historic cold temps

"It's too darn cold to be outside right now."

BANGOR, Maine — As temperatures drop well below zero degrees this weekend throughout Maine, it poses a serious threat to anyone staying outdoors longer than five or ten minutes.

Organizations like the Unitarian Universalist Society of Bangor is just one of nearly a dozen locations in the Queen City staying open as a warming center this weekend. 

"It's too darn cold to be outside right now," Christine Sprague, office administrator at the church, said. 

Sprague said for the first time, their doors are open at all hours of the day and night from Thursday evening through this Sunday. 

"We're a relatively small organization, it's hard to do all of it," Sprague said. 

Which is why Sprague said they partnered with Needle Point Sanctuary to make this warming center possible. 

The church is providing more than just a warm place to stay this weekend. 

"Volunteers have really gotten together to provide food, bedding, some extra coats, hand warmers, you know a wide variety of things," Sprague said. 

Sprague added they're also making sure it's a safe environment for all.

"Needle Point Sanctuary has a lot of people who are really well trained and informed on how to handle, you know, large gatherings of diverse people," Sprague said.

The Bangor Public Library is also making sure the public knows its doors are open during the day for anyone looking to escape the cold.

Lisa Overlock owns the cafe 98 Wake 'N Shake inside the library. She said she's opening an hour earlier Saturday morning to make sure people have a warm place to go when some of the overnight shelters close in the morning. 

"We decided to open at 8 on Saturday instead of 9 so people can get in out of the wind and cold," Overlock said. 

Overlock added there weren't many people at the library during the day on Friday because there were so many other warming centers open. She said on any given cold day there can be as many as 40 to 50 people looking to get warm at the cafe. 

She also said the cafe does what it can to help those experiencing homelessness. 

"People will come up and pay ahead for coffee so we always keep track of that and we give coffee out," Overlock said. 

"The library is a warming center for anybody, so if you're at home and something happens to your heat, you can come in here, too. So, it's the same thing for people who are experiencing homelessness, we're a place for you to come," Shavaun Rigler, director of development and public relations for the Bangor Public Library, said. 

These organizations all hope to provide warmth and comfort during these cold winter days ahead. 

"Nobody needs to be so tough that they can hang outside in negative anything weather," Sprague said. 

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