The Jefferson County Homeless Coalition’s overnight cold weather shelter opened Nov. 16. We had three individuals spend that night and seven were there on Sunday. We expect that number to grow to a maximum of 16.
This year the shelter is moving between several churches. The first two weeks have been at St. James Catholic in Charles Town. The first week of December it will be at Zion Episcopal in Charles Town. Several other churches in the county have volunteered to host the following weeks.
As you can imagine, the roving shelter takes a great deal of organization and many volunteers. We are particularly in need of volunteer, overnight hosts. If someone is able to give an occasional night from 8:30 p.m. to 7 a.m. the next morning, it would be greatly appreciated. Our primary goal is to see that no one freezes to death on the streets of our county.
Chris and Becky Hunter from St. James Catholic do the scheduling of our overnight hosts. They can be reached at email@example.com.
We need one male and one female host every night through March, and we have training sessions scheduled. This year we have hired a shelter manager. His name is John Cloyd and he will be available for support to the volunteers.
This year, dinners are provided at various locations throughout Charles Town. We are blessed by the churches who are participating in providing these meals. When the shelter location is not within walking distance, guests are taken by van from Community Ministries to the shelter. We are appreciative of Charles Town Baptist Church, which made a gift of this van to JCCM and the Coalition.
As the roving shelter is a new program for us, we do not feel able to provide full breakfasts each day. However, we do serve coffee and attempt to provide breakfast rolls or bars etc. each morning.
We would appreciate donations of these items so that we can give some sustenance to our people. These can be delivered to the Step-Up Program at JCCM, 238 W. Washington St., Charles Town. Please indicate that donations are for the Homeless Coalition.
We also do not have a place to serve lunch this year. However, we would not turn down any donations of bag lunches if there are groups who would like to provide them. To donate, contact me at 304-919-0146 to arrange a delivery location and time.
As always, the Homeless Coalition continues to need socks, gloves, hats, etc, along with personal products. These, too, can be dropped off for the Homeless Coalition at Community Ministries.
This is our fourth winter of providing an overnight winter shelter.
We would not have been able to do this without all of the help this community has provided. Thank you for all you do.
— Carol Beattie is the coordinator of the Jefferson County Homeless Coalition’s Step-Up Program