Menu Close

The Warming Shelter ILM

New Location: Grace United Methodist Church 401 Grace St. ILM

The Warming Shelter, opens on extremely cold consecutive nights to offer emergency, overnight beds and comfort to persons experiencing homelessness.
With only 24-48 hours notice to MOBILIZE, The shelter is organized by a community of volunteers who stand ready to go.
ANNOUNCEMENTS about the shelter are made via word-of-mouth, social media and with community PARTNERS using the Cape Fear Homeless Continuum of Care email list.

PETS! We love pets AND KNOW PETS ARE IMPORTANT, but due to the nature of the shelter SET-UP we are unable to accommodate pets.

When it’s a GO… We offer Radical Hospitality

The Warming Shelter requires at least 30 Volunteers who fill several different roles throughout one night of the shelter’s operating hours.

  1. Set up Team starts at 3:45pm the night the shelter opens and readies the space for our guests. Sets up cots, makes beds, creates the food station and receives on-site donations.
  2. Our hot Evening Meal is served at 6:15pm. Prepare food at home or purchase take-out for delivery from a local restaurant. Hot food should be delivered to 1403 Market Street by 6:00pm. Stay through dinner inviting guests to help themselves to hot meals and ensure their needs are fulfilled. Dinner for 85-100 people is needed.
  3. Abundant Snacks! We invite our guests to eat as much as they like. Provide, purchase or prepare sweet & salty individually wrapped snacks for our guests. Drop snacks off anytime at 3403 Winston Blvd. (Hope Recovery UMC) and leave in brown bin at main door OR drop off at The Warming Shelter any day the shelter is in operation at 401 Grace St. after 5pm.
  4. *Evening Shelter Hosts arrive at 5:15pm to check-in guests, eat dinner with our community, converse and spend time with shelter guests by engaging in friendly and warm conversation.
  5. Pizza Team – treats guest to Domino’s pizza by ordering 12 pizzas for delivery at 8:30pm as a special treat (1x per shelter). The cost is apps $200.
  6. *Overnight Hosts arrive at 9:30pm in preparation to stay overnight at the shelter to accommodate guest needs and help to keep the space safe and sound. Bring personal items to take a nap once the shelter is quiet for the night! Overnight shelter hosts are relieved at 5:30am.
  7. AM Coffee Makers arrive at 5:30am to relieve overnight hosts and prepare the coffee as guests wake up.
  8. Breakfast is served at 7am sharp. Early risers prepare or purchase a hot breakfast for our guests who will be exiting the space during the day. TO GO bags are awesome as some folks wait to eat breakfast until later in the day. Breakfast for 65 people is needed.
  9. Clean Up – Each morning we clean and sanitize the shelter space from 7:30am to 9:30am. The shelter kitchen and bathrooms need to be cleaned daily on each morning after the shelter is open.
  10. Break down Team. 10 people needed! When the shelter ends, we clean and sanitize the facility, break down cots and take inventory of needed supplies. Breakdown is from 8:00am to 11:00am on the day the shelter ends.
  11. Laundry Team – launders blankets at off-site commercial laundry mat in preparation for the next shelter. Can be done the day or days after the shelter ends.
  12. Organizing Team – organizes shelter supplies between “pop-ups” and inventories supplies.
  13. Supplies Team – shops for ongoing needs and supplies such as: consumables like soda, snacks and food. Or is “on call” to shop for specific shelter guest needs like shoes or diabetic supplies on an as needed basis.

The Shelter Costs approximately $550 a night to Operate

The Shelter has an Ongoing List of Needs

Because of the last-minute “pop-up” nature of the shelter, we have an ongoing list of needs. Items can be dropped off at 3403 Winston Blvd. (Hope Recovery Faith Community UMC), Wilmington, NC and left in the brown bin at the main entrance to the church.

  1. COTS & Sleeping Bags
  2. Snacks – Store-bought, individually wrapped, non-perishable
  3. Bottled Water and Soda
  4. Men’s & Women’s Underwear (all sizes)
  5. Backpacks, Grocery shopping bags, Totes

We have a lot of offers to donate clothing but we DO NOT have space to store clothing. Clothing needs are identified on a case by case basis. If you are a clothing contact, please let us know by emailing us at:


No Judgement – beds for the unsheltered NO QUESTIONS ASKED

We respect the many reasons why people can’t or won’t stay in local emergency homeless shelters: trauma, anxiety in group living situations, fear of harm, mental or physical health conditions, criminal records, pet owners who won’t abandon their animals.

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on

Works of mercy through Radical Hospitality

We care for the immediate needs of those who are in need by providing warm cots, blankets, hot meals and all-night snacks to our guests. As hosts of The Warming Shelter, we offer a non-judgement zone of safety to cultivate an environment of relaxation and peace. Our motive is simply to provide warmth and welcome. We are a triage effort – the permanent solution to homelessness is AFFORDABLE HOUSING!

Photo by RODNAE Productions on

Community-wide effort

The Warming Shelter is organized by local Wilmington congregations of The United Methodist Church in partnership with neighboring churches, homeless-services agencies, local non-profits and community partners.

We are a fully volunteer led, grant and donation funded initiative who deep believes in caring for our neighbors by offering “Radical Hospitality.”

We meet Works of Mercy with Works of Justice

Addressing issues which cause homelessness is part of our ongoing work. Get involved with our local Homeless Continuum of Care, which works to ends homelessness locally