The Outreach Ministries have been making adjustments as the situation has changed in Philadelphia. With the current “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order in place we have cancelled all volunteer opportunities for the foreseeable future. This will help to ensure a clean and safe environment for our shelter residents and reduce the exposure of volunteers and our guests who experience housing insecurity. I repeat- NO VOLUNTEERS FOR ANY REASON AT THIS TIME!
Starting Friday, March 27th our Church Shelter will be open 24hrs a day / 7 days a week for 35 individuals. We have coordinated with our shelter partner, the Bethesda Project, to welcome five additional people into our space for shelter. Five women will be joining our shelter to reduce crowding at another Bethesda Project location and allow the reassignment of limited staffing for around the clock coverage.
Providing full-time shelter will allow folks to rest and take care of themselves while reducing the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in the community. The residents of the shelter will have staff supervision provided all day and night. The residents will be allowed to shower in our Christian Education Building on a scheduled basis for the duration of this quarantine. Three meals a day will be provided by Bethesda and special meals will be purchased for the guests when outreach funds are available.
One of our hardest decisions has been to suspend the Saturday Cupboard. We do not know how long we will need to do this, and we ask for everyone’s understanding and patience while we adjust to an increase in shelter needs.
Ways to help
- You can send catered meals in for the shelter – breakfast, lunch or dinner! Please let Old First staff know if you are ordering food in so that we can let the Shelter Supervisor know to expect a delivery.
- You can donate to our Shelter or Outreach Ministry funds through Breeze. The link to do this is: https://oldfirstucc.breezechms.com/give/online
- You can send a check to Old First Reformed UCC (made out to Old First with Outreach in the memo line) to 151 North 4th Street, Philadelphia, PA 19106
- You can drop off items to the gate of the church office or to the Social Hall door. You can also schedule a grocery delivery to the church! PLEASE DROP & GO to reduce contact germs.
o Suggested items: cold cereal, oatmeal, soft snack bars, milk, eggs, coffee, sugar, creamer, pastries, bread, lunchmeat, paper bowls, paper plates, plastic or biodegradable silverware, paper towels, decks of cards, adult coloring books, colored pencils/markers, group or partner games (bingo, Scrabble, Connect 4, Sorry, Uno, Phase 10, Yahtzee, Checkers/Chess, etc.)
o Items needed for 5 women – nail polish + remover, hair brushes (for variety of hair types), hygiene items
More information will be available as the shelter expansion gets off the ground. Please keep our ministries in your prayers during this difficult time. I am self-isolating at home and not in the office to oversee the changes and have put my faith in Michael and Tony to get the good work done for now. If you need to contact me, email is the best way.
Billi, Outreach Coordinator- email@example.com
Clark, SLG leader – firstname.lastname@example.org