Missoula’s homeless shelter was temporarily closed Wednesday because of a “significant” plumbing failure that impacted the kitchen, men’s dormitory and some storage spaces. The kitchen will remain closed at least until Friday, with sack lunches instead prepared at Missoula First United Methodist Church.

Officials said for the closure was needed to ensure the safety of the Poverello Center's clients and to allow for repair and cleaning of impacted areas.

The shelter reopened at 8:45 p.m. Wednesday for normal overnight check-in, but no additional services.

“The safety of our clients is a top priority for the Poverello Center,” said Amy Allison Thompson, the executive director of the Poverello Center. “Once the issue was recognized, our staff worked quickly to clear the affected areas and began to assess damage.”

The Poverello’s kitchen, which serves 400 to 500 meals a day, will be closed until Friday, May 10, and possibly longer.

The shelter's staff members are working with community partners, including the Missoula Food Bank, to make a plan for how to continue serving meals during the closure.

The plumbing issue resulted in Poverello losing all of their food supplies and will eventually need food donations but ask community members to wait until the kitchen re-opens to bring in those donations.

“The Poverello Center is working with a professional remediation company to clean up this plumbing issue.” added Allison Thompson. “I am confident that we will quickly be able to return to being safe and clean space to providing food and shelter to Missoulians experiencing homelessness and food insecurity.”

In order to meet the food needs of the Poverello’s clients, for the next couple of days about 3,500 sack lunches will need to be made.

First United Methodist Church at 300 East Main Street will allow the Poverello to use its commercial kitchen to make lunches.

Volunteers are needed on Thursday and Friday to assemble sack lunches. Click here to sign up for volunteer shifts: Food donations are also needed to make these lunches.

The following donations can be delivered to First United Methodist Church between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. on Thursday and Friday:

  • Bread
  • Sandwich Meat
  • Sliced Cheese
  • Peanut Butter & Jelly
  • Granola Bars
  • Single serving packaged chips
  • Bottled water
  • Apples, Oranges and Bananas
  • Plastic Sandwich Bags
  • Plastic Wrap
  • Plastic grocery bags or paper lunch bags