Riverton Rescue Mission Task Force moving forward with a feasibility study

    (Riverton, WY)  Plans for a structure for the unhoused are moving forward as the Riverton Rescue Task Force met at the Riverton Library last Wednesday to give updates on the progress and plans.

    With the assistance of several local, county and state entities, the group was able to raise enough funds for the $18,000 feasibility study, which will be done by a company out of Texas.

    Task force board member Tiana Payne said that the City of Riverton was very helpful in facilitating the process of purchasing the feasibility study, “which is something that needed to be done, because otherwise, you can spend millions of dollars and then figure out that it’s not going to work…or spend $18,0000 and figure out it’s not going to work.”


    Initial fundraising has been the focus for the last several months. In December, the Riverton Peace Mission donated $5K. In January, the Riverton City Council approved $9K for the project contingent on matching funds from the county. Subsequently, the Fremont County Commissioners approved $9K for the project.

    On February 3rd, a bingo night and chili dinner fundraiser were also held in St. Margaret’s gymnasium. Many local businesses and organizations donated items and gift cards for the event. 

    Transportation provided to warming huts

    At the end of January, WTRA was able to donate a van to the Task Force, with Frontline Motors donating $1,000 for registration and insurance, making it possible to provide transportation for the unhoused to the warming huts behind 789 throughout the winter.

    WRTA recently donated a van to the Riverton Rescue Mission Task Force. (h/t Riverton Rescue Mission)

    No alcohol or weapons are allowed in the van. Members of the board and volunteer drivers rotate shifts, also working with RPD to “make sure that they inform our drivers if there’s something we’re not seeing, or if they feel like it’s still a large necessity,” said Kara Hancock, who heads up the transport program, and is also the task force’s secretary. “We go out two at a time…we have places that we stop, but there are also places that we know individuals are hanging out. So far, I’ve had really good experiences…it’s been a really, wonderful program.”


    Hancock went on to say that when she drives, she likes to take a warm meal to the warming hut. “If there are more people interested in that…I’ll even go pick up meals.”

    The warming hut provides ham sandwiches “and has received many donations, which is absolutely amazing and wonderful,” Hancock continued. “But on a cold night and after your tenth ham sandwich, you’re really ready for something else.”

    Set Free Church also provides a dinner. “We try to stop by Set Free after their meal time, so that way there’s a larger crowd,” said Payne.


    With the weather getting warmer, Payne had inquired with Wind River Cares Director Rick Brannan as to whether the warming huts would continue to be open. “They do shut down for cleaning periods, but as far as I know they plan to stay open.”

    Donations at the heart of success

    Highlands Presbyterian Church in Cheyenne, in partnership with the Riverton Peace Mission, was able to purchase and donate a refrigerator/freezer and a microwave to the warming hut. Task force members said that, out of all the items, socks are needed the most.

    “Socks, jackets (larger sizes, so they can layer), backpacks,” said Hancock. “Non-perishables…(they love ramen)…it can’t be something they have to prepare, they don’t have a stovetop. Think college dorm room; think microwave.”


    For more information about the needs for the unhoused, and to contact the warming hut, call 307-438-3370.

    The next meeting of the Riverton Rescue Task Force will be Thursday, April 11 at the Riverton Branch Library. For more information, visit their website or Facebook page.


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