Messiah News

Winter Hospitality Overflow (WHO)– Item Collection during Drive-Thru Communion, February 7

Many of our congregation have volunteered at WHO in the past. This winter, as with everything else, is different due to the pandemic. However, WHO is thriving and so are the men staying there. This is the 18th year for St Paul's Lutheran Church in downtown Vancouver to host this place for homeless men to spend the winter nights. This year, its name is "Outsiders Inn at St Paul's … Men's Shelter Program, Vancouver, WA."

The WHO is still housing 25 men each night. (Before COVID, the number was 30.) The beds (bunkbeds and cots) are separated into three rooms, instead of two, and dividers exist between each bed area. The large room across from the showers is now the Hospitality room where the men can spread out, eat, and watch TV. The kitchen area is only for food. The room by the kitchen which used to have bunkbeds is now the office. The men are allowed to spend the weekend inside. There have been no COVID cases at St Paul's, even as there was a recent scare at the SHARE House down the street.

The staff overseeing the men are being supplied by a nonprofit homeless organization called Outsiders Inn which is under the umbrella of the Council for the Homeless in Vancouver. Their director is Adam Cravitz, once a homeless man himself who stayed at St Paul's many years ago. He became a volunteer and is now the Director. With Adam's connections and background, 32 men have found jobs this winter and many have been able to leave the shelter and get permanent housing!

Winter Hospitality Overflow – Three ways you can help 

  1. Cash donations are always needed to help out with staffing. Financial donations can be made online at the Council for the Homeless website ( and earmarked for WHO or a check may be written to Messiah Lutheran Church with the memo "for WHO."
  2. Even during the pandemic, outside organizations are still providing dinners for the men. Our congregation will provide dinners from March 22 (Monday) though March 27 (Saturday). Brenda Gardner and Hope Quinn (from Messiah) will coordinate this effort. Several people each night will probably want to contribute to providing a fully cooked and hot meal for 25 men at 6p. Staff members meet the car and move the food inside.We don't enter the shelter. Sign-Up form to assist with dinner preparation is coming soon.
  3. You can donate any of the following items to help the homeless in Clark County. You can bring them to the Drive-Through at the Hazel Dell campus on Sunday, Feb 7, or you may drop them by the church office Mon-Thurs 9a-noon until Ash Wed, Feb 17. ITEMS NOT ON THIS LIST CANNOT BE ACCEPTED.

Bus passes - Hand-warmers - Gas Vouchers - New sleeping bags – Flashlights - Rechargeable flashlights - Tarps - Mini first aid kits - Women's hygiene supplies - Tents - Baby wipes - Foam camping sleep pad - Can openers – Chapstick - Subway food cards - Scotch guard – Socks - Solar phone chargers - Hand lotion – Masks - Verizon minutes card -Trash bags - Nail clippers/files - Small sewing kits - Hand sanitizer – Batteries - Water-proof matches - Hair ties - Q-tips - Emergency solar blankets (silver/folded in a pouch)

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