Messiah will host Winter Hospitality Overflow (WHO), January 21-28, 2018

by Brenda Gardner  |  click here to sign up  |   

Our congregation will be participating in providing staffing for the Winter Hospitality Overflow shelter at St. Paul Lutheran Church. This ministry provides overnight housing for 24-30 homeless men during the winter months. It is a truly ecumenical ministry. The volunteer staffing comes from congregations of many different denominations, including the local Jewish congregation who provide volunteers for the week of Christmas.

We all know homelessness is a HUGE problem at this time in the United States. It is easy to think of the homeless as chronic vagrants, but the majority of homeless people are temporarily homeless because of a job loss or other stroke of bad luck. With the high cost of housing in our area, there are many, many people who are just a paycheck away from homelessness. We believe it is our Christian duty to help the less fortunate. Our congregation does that in many ways, including the One Mile Mission, Food on the 4th, contributions to local charities, quilts for local disasters and for Lutheran World Relief, contributions to ELCA Disaster Relief and World Hunger, and the list goes on.

However, this particular cause is very personal to me and my family. We have a son who is homeless. There have been years we could not volunteer at St. Paul because our own son may have been a guest there, and we have a No-Contact Order. Sadly, this son has a serious mental illness. For this reason, and because of the time I have spent volunteering at St. Paul over the years, I am especially aware of the need for shelter in the winter.

As you will find out when you volunteer, there are many great guys staying at the shelter. Actually, they do all the work/chores. We just have to be there as chaperons. I know it's not easy to give up an evening, or to go out in the middle of the night, but you are desperately needed. For the 24-30 men staying at the shelter, your gift of time means they don't have to sleep outside in the cold. I believe it is very important that we, as a congregation do our part. There are many other churches, smaller in size than Messiah, that provide volunteers for 7 evenings. That is our commitment as well. We need at least two people to chaperon at St. Paul from 6:00-11:00pm, from 11:00pm-3:00am, and from or 3:00-7:00am beginning the evening of Sunday, January 21 until the morning of Sunday, January 28. You may select one, two, or all three shifts.

Please sign up for a time slot by visiting the our SignupGenius. For those who would like to help in additional ways, there will also be a list of items needed by the shelter that you can volunteer to provide. We will need to bring something hot in a crock pot each night as well as store bought or homemade treats, fruit and/or vegies. The facility also has an on-going need for items like towels, clothing, shoes, socks, and toiletries.

You are also welcome to call Brenda Gardner at 360-601-9258 or Hope Quinn at 360-314-2737 to volunteer for time slots or food.

THANK YOU! - Brenda Gardner

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