Winter Shelter


Old First was the first church in Philadelphia to open its doors to homeless Philadelphians back in 1984.

Today, through a partnership with Bethesda Project, Old First’s Social Hall becomes home to 30 residents from November through April. Bethesda staff serve as night supervisors and provide the primary social services and case management. Old First provides the space and organizes outside groups to host dinners.

Volunteers come from all over the region to prepare, serve, and share an evening meal with the men of the shelter several days a week.

2016Nov Cooking Confirmands Old First 084
Old First UCC cooking winter shelter 2016

Volunteers arrive between 5 and 5:30 pm (depending on how long their meal prep. will take) with all necessary food and drinks for 25 guests and volunteers.

*To be greener, we use china and silverware that the men from the shelter wash after the meal

Groups, welcomed by an Old First host, prepare the meal and serve it at 6:30, eat alongside the guests, and participate in a short reflection before leaving so our guests can get ready for bed.

All volunteers must be over the age of 14. The maximum volunteer group size is 12.

To schedule a date your group to prepare dinner with the shelter residents, please e-mail Alesha Thomas, our Outreach Coordinator, at

See Available Dates

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