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Community is commended for helping Room at the Inn

It could have just been a “tough luck” situation for a population that’s seen its share of tough luck.

Fortunately, the community has stepped up to help people who need emergency shelter amidst the COVID-19 crisis, in which social distancing is playing a bit part to curtail the problem.

Room at the Inn has relocated its shelter operations to Lakeview Arena at 401 E. Fair Ave. in Marquette.

RATI needed a space large enough to act as a temporary emergency shelter, an understandable need since social distancing guidelines say people should be at least 6 feet apart.

RATI guests normally eat and gather at the RATI Warming Center along West Washington Street before moving to a local church for evening shelter.

Fortunately, the city of Marquette offered the spacious Lakeview Arena as an option.

The issue was far more complicated, though, than sheltering people safely. Guests also ate meals prepare by staff and volunteers at the Warming Center. However, food still is being prepared in the center’s kitchen, but it’s brought over to guests at Lakeview Arena.

That’s at least one benefit to the current situation — people sleeping and eating under one roof. In fact, talks had been underway this year for a permanent shelter to house resources under one roof in the RATI building to make managing guests easier.

In the meantime, extra sanitation measures are being taken at Lakeview Arena, such as temperature checks of guests before each meal and before bed. They also are asked to use hand sanitizer as they go through the food line.

So far, RATI simply is trying to provide food and shelter. Like everyone else, though, it’s looking forward to the day when things can go back to normal.

When that will happen is unclear. Until that day comes, people can help RATI by sending monetary donations via roomattheinn.org. Anyone interested in signing up to make or purchase dinner for RATI may contact Mary Jane Lynch at Mjlnup@gmail.com.

A list of current needs can be found on the RATI Facebook page. These include toilet paper, coffee, juice/soda, hand sanitizer, baked goods, dry snacks, fruit, toiletries, board games and books. Donations can be dropped off at Lakeview Arena on the Lake Superior side of the building.

The guests most certainly will be grateful.

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