Warming shelter welcomes local homeless people
By Pat Abernathy
As the new coordinator for the Jefferson County Cold Weather Shelter, I was totally unprepared for the amazing outpouring of love and generosity from the Jefferson County community!
As a result, in November, the first full month, we had 205 guest overnight stays and approximately 450 meals plus brown bag lunches.
I've spent 10 years working as an event planner and mission volunteer here, and I come from an experienced perspective. My hope is that the churches, organizations and so many people will read this and feel appreciated; how I wish I could name every one of you!
Shepherd's House and Faith-Based Network have been tapping into financial resources attempting to reach our $40,000 budget for the season.
Most recently, we have gotten donations from Dallas Stovall at Brightwood, and Central Oregon Seeds Inc. – which continue to try to meet our daily needs, Columbia Bank, which has adopted us from the beginning and made dozens of toiletry bags, as well as raised funds for the shelter, and Oregon Beef.
During the "Miracle on Fifth Street" event, Angie Ludi, of the White Buffalo Boutique, and Glenn, Reeder & Gassner adopted the shelter as well.
At the end of the day, results are what counts. Are we truly making a difference in the lives of our homeless and at risk population? Emphatically, yes! Not only are the lives being saved, people are being fed, and five of our guests have transitioned into homes, three have found jobs and many are healthier and more stable in their lifestyle. All are loved.
Each guest is offered food and a warm bed, but as important, a listening ear, kindness and acceptance.
I work with five wonderful staff, Les and Michelle St. Peter, Jason Forbey, Dorothy Huffman and William Walker. Every one of them takes personal interest in each guest and does their utmost to make them feel comfortable and feel at home. Over 30 volunteers have fed and helped care for our guests, as well. Our staff will continue to move with the shelter and work at each location.
Pastor Brigham Brown and Living Hope Christian Center hosted November, the first full month of operation. Pastor Don Courtney and First Baptist Church are hosting in December. Jan. 1, we will relocate to the Free Methodist Church for two months with Pastor Rick Russell. Metolius Friends Church, with Pastor Jadon Ross, will also be at the Free Methodist Church in February to host. Jeff Freshour and Cornerstone Baptist will host the final month of the shelter in March.
What a great community effort this is! The blessing of God is so evident in the amazing effort! Where there is unity, he commands a blessing the Bible tells us, and it is so obvious in this project.
My personal thanks to Shepherd's House Bend, Faith-Based Network and Madras Gospel Mission for giving me this opportunity to serve and for being so supportive.