Winter Nomadic Homeless Shelter Sees More as Weather Turns
On Friday, Nov. 2, the nomadic homeless shelter opened once again. It is open seven nights a week and rotates between different churches or faith-based groups. The first few weeks saw only eight guests using the shelter, however this past week, with the weather deteriorating, the numbers have increased to 28. The guests are checked in at 6 p.m. at Mercy Way Rescue Mission and Church, which just recently opened its doors. Mercy Way Rescue is on Broadway, not far from the Upper Room. The guests are welcomed by the nightly check-in team, they can get a hot cup of coffee and have a warm, dry place to rest before being driven to the nightly shelter. Currently a van transports them but within the next week the shelter bus, Gracie, will be used to transport them. At check-in they receive their assigned sleeping bag and mat and agree to and sign the sheter guidelines.
The participating churches or faith-based groups are Cold Springs Community Church, Foothills United Methodist Church, Green Valley Community Church, Mercy Way Rescue Mission, Solid Rock Faith Center, Christ Like Services, Federated Church, Church of the Nazarene, Cameron Park Christian Center, and Rolling Hills Community Church.
Once at the shelter the shelter guests are met by the evening shelter volunteers, there are snacks, dessert, board games and a movie for entertainment. Some of the guests are tired and just go to sleep, others visit, play cards, or read. The homeless consistently say how appreciative they are to have a safe, warm dry place to spend the night. There was a church sign the read “A place to go is called home” and for the 30-40 men and women that will end up using the shelter this winter the shelter becomes their home for the night. Lasting, meaningful relationships are built between the shelter guests and the volunteers.
The groups participating are to be commended for stepping up to fill this critical need. If you are interested in volunteering at the homeless shelter program there are several ways to get involved. The evening shift goes from 6:30 to 9 p.m., the overnight shift (two volunteers) goes from 9 p.m. to 8 a.m. There is a need for snacks for the evening and continental breakfast for the following morning. If you are interested in volunteering or getting more information about the winter homeless shelter you can e-mail Janis Carney at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-409-9219.