The Student News Site of Utica University

The Tangerine

The Student News Site of Utica University

The Tangerine

The Student News Site of Utica University

The Tangerine

Staying warm: Helping those in need during the harsh winters

Outside of the Cornerstone Community Church in Utica /Photo courtesy of Cornerstone Community Church

With a new Spring semester comes slick roads and freezing temperatures, meaning students and adults need access to warm areas. Most at risk are the homeless population, who are not as likely to be welcomed into public spaces. 

The Morrow Warming Center in Utica, run by Cathy Marsh at the Cornerstone Community Church, is one of many possible resources provided for those in need. 

“People don’t realize how tough it is to live on the streets,” Marsh said. “A lot of people just want to be noticed, there is an idea that once you become homeless you stop existing.” 


According to Marsh, the Morrow Warming Center has operated for four years, beginning in December 2020.


“We started as an overnight low-barrier facility,” Marsh said. “Anyone can come, no matter if they are on something or have mental disabilities. Most facilities won’t allow active substance users, they want people a certain way.” 


A major mission of the Morrow Warming Center, according to Marsh, is to make sure the Utica community is fed, clothed and housed, no matter their financial or health status. 


“We have always said, ‘If you don’t want to see them, house them,’” Marsh said. “But Oneida County is very stuck in the past. The idea that people need to earn their right to have a place to live is quite engrained.”


Utica University has also been making strides to provide aid for those in need during the winter months. Recently, students visited the Morrow Warming Center to provide and serve food as a day of service. 


Dr. Anthony Baird, Chief Diversity Officer and Vice President of DEIB at Utica University, said Utica students’ day of service was to honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 


“The spirit of the work that we did really resonated with the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s vision for social justice,” Baird said. “It was a way for us to remind ourselves of the importance of helping our fellow citizens, and for students to have a chance to give back.”


Baird highlighted some of the available resources for students in need at Utica University campus. 


“We know we have the Tangerine Grove, initiatives by Student Affairs and ResLife for students in insecure spaces,” Baird said. “We just recently completed an extensive clothing drive to launch our Career Closet, and there are emergency funds available from Student Affairs who may need them.” 


Other potential resources for those in need include, the Rescue Mission of Utica and Hope House, Baird said. 


The Morrow Warming Center hosts anywhere from 50 to 70 residents daily for dinner, Marsh said, and they are in need of any supplies donors are willing to give. 

For more information or to get involved with the Morrow Warming Center, visit the Cornerstone Community Church at 500 Plant St, Utica, NY 13502. You can also donate to their official campaign. 

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Kayden Lamphere, Special Assignment Reporter

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