Heather Echeveste, executive director of Origins Faith Community. (The Enterprise/Joe Siess).

ONTARIO – At least two cooling centers are open in Ontario to provide for residents without air conditioning during a week where daily highs exceed 100. 

One such space is at Origins Faith Community’s New Hope Day Shelter, located at 312 N.W. 2nd St., and offers shade and air conditioning to anyone who may need it. It is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday through Sunday. A free home-cooked lunch is served from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. on weekdays, with lighter fare served on the weekend. Cots are also available to take naps. 

“The cooling shelter opened on the 30th, the day that the (tiny home) shelter closed, and it was kind of just thrown together pretty quickly that day because it was so hot,” said Heather Echeveste, executive director of Origins Faith Community. “A few people that were in shelter decided to go back out into the elements. It was so hot outside that we were very concerned for their health and safety, so we threw together the cooling station.”

Echeveste said that the shelter had been made possible through the generosity of the community and “a great outreach of supporters.” 

“We plan to run that through at least through this crazy heat wave that we have,” she said.

Another space is Four Rivers Cultural Center, located at 676 S.W. 5th Ave. In addition to shade and air conditioning, it offers water, snack bars and wifi from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. Its capacity is about 300 people, but Executive Director Matt Stringer said few people so far were taking advantage of the opportunity.  

“If we see solid demand this week, I’ll open it on Sunday,” he said. 

Stringer said that the free wifi at Four Rivers might be a draw. 

“People can still watch a movie or check their emails,” he said. 

News tip? Contact reporter Liliana Frankel at [email protected] or 267-981-5577.

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