It’s that time of year again, when we start preparing for another year of our Winter Shelter. Starting in November and running until April, we partner with Bethesda Project to host thirty men who would otherwise not have a place to sleep.
Volunteers make the shelter possible. Whether you are new to church or a long-time member, whether you are a frequent volunteer or haven’t yet had the opportunity, I look forward to serving alongside you this shelter season.
Earlier this week, we emailed over fifty outside volunteers, and tomorrow we will send a letter to over a hundred additional helpers. Already, half of the volunteer spots for the fall have been filled. So if you’re interested in volunteering, sign up quick – send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call me at (316) 803-7868.
There are two direct ways to volunteer.
First, we rely on volunteers to provide meals 3-4 days a week. Groups arrive at 5 pm with their ingredients, use our kitchen to prepare the dinner, serve and eat alongside the guys at 6:45, and are cleaned up and out by 7:30 so our guests can get ready for bed.
This year, we aim to serve meals on Sunday, Monday, and Thursday each week, but we are open to having meals on other days. You can sign up to do it once or twice, or on a regular basis. All volunteers must be over the age of 14, and the maximum group size is 12.
Second, if you live near the church, we need people to serve as Hosts – opening the church to the dinner group, enjoying the free dinner, and then making sure that the dinner group gets cleaned up and leaves on time. In the past, this position was not needed because we had an on-site Outreach Intern; now, with my part-time Outreach Minister position, we need more members of the church to step into leadership positions.
In either case, shelter guests welcome you into their temporary home and share a dinner with you. In turn, you can show care, love and respect for the guys.
If these options don’t work for you, we are also in need of financial contributions to maintain the shelter. If you are unable to volunteer, please consider a donation of $200 or more to support our shelter guests. You can send a check to the church (the preferred method) or you can donate now through our website, https://oldfirstucc.org/grow/stewardship.
We hope that you can make serving shelter dinners part of your commitment to supporting others this year.
John Bergen, Outreach Minister