Winter shelter gears up for new season, reflects on last
Following a very successful first year at the Jefferson County winter shelter in Madras, we are now planning our second season of housing the homeless in the 2019-2020 year.
Were we successful? Out of 96 individual guests, 23 have told us they are in housing of rehab. Sixteen others have found jobs.
We served 1,458 dinners and filled 1,164 beds. Also, we as a staff and our volunteers have continued to keep in touch with a weekly dinner for the homeless and graduates. Our goal was to stay in touch and continue to support them this summer. The dinner has been discontinued as of this week, to give our volunteers and staff a break until our reopening.
One very significant change in the coming year it that we will be open every night from Nov. 15 to March 15. That takes a month off of our original schedule, but, will bring consistency to our guests, staff and volunteers. Previously our opening was dependent on the temperature being 32 degrees or below and all involved had to call and check the temperature each day.
Donations are already coming in from our generous community! For example, Grocery Outlet recently had a fundraising campaign, Oregon Beef donated a large amount of meat and Dairy Queen has also given us two large boxes of meat. Columbia Bank is already accepting donations for toiletry bags, i.e.: small shampoos, soaps, socks and other appropriate toiletry items.
As the shelter coordinator, I feel once again that we are being swept along on a tsunami of love and generosity!
We are changing words like "enabling" into words like "rescuing" and "empowering." We work with other local assistance organizations to accomplish this.
We are multicultural and welcome all ethnicities. Together, we are changing our culture and raising the floor for our marginalized population.
The shelter was birthed in the heart of the Faith-Based Network, covered by Shepherds House of Bend and is locally networked with Madras Gospel Mission. This truly has been a match made in heaven, as we have had wonderful support and guidance.
We are sponsored by five different churches, including Living Hope Christian Center, the First Baptist Church, Madras Free Methodist Church, Metolius Friends Church and Cornerstone Baptist Church. Three of these churches housed us last year and provided food.
As we look to the upcoming season, these churches are once again committed to help. We thank them with all of our hearts!
I have been asked two things, one being what do we need?
The answer to that is cots and more sleeping mats, as well as sweatshirts, sweatpants, boots and new underwear for both male and female.
I have also been asked how to make monetary donations. Those donations can be made to Jefferson County Faith-Based Network at P.O. Box 416 Madras, Oregon, 97741.
We are excited looking forward to making a difference in the lives of our homeless population and once again, networking with so many amazing volunteers and donors! Thank you!
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