Adding Quality of Life to Homeless Overflow Shelters

This information was supplied by Anthony’s Plot, which is doing stellar work in providing overnight accommodations when other shelters have no room at their inns.

 

Anthony’s Plot Community

11:01pm Feb 13

Greetings from inside First Baptist Church on this snowy winter night. Our city rests a little more easily on a night like tonight because those who are most vulnerable are safe and warm in three of our churches, tended to by some of our church and community members. This night may be one of clearest examples of the work we have done together: whereas Greensboro and Charlotte are scrambling to care for their homeless citizens, leaving church and community groups nervous about what this weather means for the “least of these” in their parishes, we are simply continuing our daily effort to make sure all are cared for as we would want to be. Not often you get to say that finding shelter for 95 homeless people on a snowy and dangerous night is “just another day.” We are thankful.

As I hope you have heard by now, we are making some very exciting changes to the way we have been serving our homeless guests at the overflow shelters. We are sending these emails out to explain what those changes are, and to encourage you to begin talking amongst your congregation or community group about your increasingly important role in this work.

• The Vision: As we often see in our congregations, smaller groups allow for deeper relationships. We think this same approach will help us offer our best care to our shelter guests (and we have seen some evidence of this at Augsburg this winter). By getting our guest numbers lower, we can tend to each person’s needs more directly (and express our love more clearly) and not expend our energy in “crowd control.” Also, state zoning law requires us to have a 20-guest capacity at each shelter. This also will mean smaller groupings (clusters) of congregation and community groups working at a specific location, which will help us to deepen our relationships with one another (and makes us more accountable to each other).

• The Model: Starting Friday, we will have five overflow shelters open, each with less than 20 guests: New Story UMC, First Baptist, Augsburg Lutheran, First Presbyterian, and St Timothy’s Episcopal. Each shelter site has 8-12 congregation and community partners, each of whom are critical to serving their guests. You will probably think of additional congregation or community groups who you would like to involve with your cluster; just make sure they are not already assigned to another cluster. You will also have the support of trained monitors and Anthony’s Plot to help fill in monitor spots as needed. Amongst ourselves, we need to figure out how to feed and shelter these guests each night. This means that you can tell volunteers where and whom they will be serving every night. All food will be served at the shelter site now, and our food needs are down to 20meals/night – this leaves room for thinking about hot meals, if we can work that out.

• The Needs: For those who can view the volunteer calendar, you will notice that there are more calendars and less volunteers listed on each. There is a specific calendar for Location-Feb and another for Location-Mar. We need to become aware of the holes in all of these calendars and begin working to fill them with our folks. In particular, there are overnight holes in the next 2 weeks that we should try to fill if possible. There are updated congregational resources attached to this email that you can use to re-engage your people. (The volunteer brochure is meant to be printed front and back as a “manual” of sorts. It also has a link, though the pages are out of order: http://rlcassidy.net/OS.Volunteer.pdf )

• What’s Next: There is an open meeting about the new cluster-model on Thursday, February 20th at 9am at Centenary UMC. This is a chance to discuss some nuts and bolts stuff, and to encourage clusters to plan a time when you all can meet together – be looking for that information shortly after. But don’t wait to sign people up; we need to get new people on the calendar soon!

Ok, now its up to you all to be active: let’s start talking about what each cluster needs and how we are going to fill them. Thank you for your commitment and investment in this shared work and in the lives of those we are being led to serve.

 

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An Overnight Shelter check-in

There’s something to the feeling of connecting with someone in need, offering a smile, a compassionate glance, an easy ear. A group of Compassionate Winston-Salem volunteers got together tonight and did just that. We met at 7pm at Loaves and Fishes (which is in front of the public library on 5th Street) and handed out blankets and protein bars to the people (residents) waiting in line to check in for overnight shelter arranged by Anthony’s Plot.

It took about an hour to get everyone signed in, and then our group split to go one way towards Augsburg Lutheran, the other to First Baptist to help get the residents settled in for the night.

I’m glad my band of compassionate peeps were able to witness and participate in the settling in of the overnight shelter. For that is when the shelter needs the most help. If you are missing something in your life, and feel that volunteering would fill that void, this organization has plenty of opportunities to supplicate your desire. Here’s how an evening at the overnight shelter typically goes:

7pm – 8pm – Check-in at Loaves & Fishes

7:30pm..ish – the Augsburg Lutheran group heads to their shelter

8pm – First Baptist group heads to their shelter

The next hour is spent getting the residents of the shelter checked in*, they get a pillow, mat, blanket, and any extra amenities they might need during the night (socks, wraps, etc). The residents then picked their spot out on the gymnasium floor, and went about the process of ‘setting up house’. Once everyone had been checked in, and for the most part settled, a call for prayer was announced, and over half the residents got up to join in circle to share their prayer. A lot of camaraderie was felt, conversations were had, smiles shared.

9:30pm – is time for Lights out until 5:30am the next morning.

* The shelter is monitored by two paid staff who stay awake the entire night. These two angels are then assisted by two volunteers* who will “split their shift” so that each can get some shut-eye. This is where Anthony’s Plot needs the most help: They need volunteers willing to ‘work’ a split shift from 8pm – 5:30am. If you are interested and want to help out, please email Rev. Russ May at info@anthonysplot.org. And get ready to experience an abundance of love, compassion, and just good old fashioned hospitality.

Drea Parker
Compassionate Coordinator
http://compassionatews.wordpress.com/

Interfaith Activist:
http://www.if-ws.org/

http://www.nain.org
Wild Garden: Pagans in the Growing Interfaith Landscape

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When Coats Are Needed, Her Higher Degree Helps

                When Cindy Jones earned a Master’s degree in Clothing and Textiles from UNC Greensboro, she never expected to be using her education quite like she’s using it today.

                “I love to shop, and I’m a good shopper,” she says.  “I know clothes.  I know good clothes.  I know brands.”

                Many of those skills can be traced back to her graduate education.

                Today, Cindy is using her education as much for the benefit of others as for herself.   For the last two years or more she has been using her degree and those talents to buy quality coats for homeless people and for others in need.  She doesn’t know exactly how many coats she has bought, but over the past summer she bought at least 100. 

                Her professors never told her to expect to use the degree like that.

                She says her activities are part of the giving spirit fostered by her church, Peace Haven Baptist Church in Winston-Salem.  “I have a certain amount of money to spend each month helping others.  I take part of what I earn from my booth at Lost in Time Antiques to buy coats,” she says.

                “My neighbor, Allen McReynolds, was the inspiration.  About two years ago he told me about the great need for men’s coats at The Shalom Project.  Allen kept saying ‘we need men’s coats, we need men’s coats,’ so I started looking to help.”

                Cindy finds most of the coats at flea markets and thrift stores.  She usually is able to find good coats for not more than five dollars, and, because she knows when thrift stores like the Salvation Army have half-price sales, she can find even more affordable deals.  She says flea markets and thrift stores are better sources because yard sales can be hit or miss.

                Her boyfriend is a folk artist who gets a lot of his ideas from items sold at flea markets, so they travel to flea markets a lot.  They drive all over the western half of North Carolina, catching flea markets like Smiley’s in Asheville, in Statesville, Hickory, Lexington, Salisbury, Archdale and Mount Airy, among others.  Last year they found several coats at flea markets while visiting in New England.

                “Shopping at flea markets works out really well.  Sometimes I will tell people that I’m buying for homeless people, and, even though many of them don’t have a lot of money, they will sell to me at a better price because they know the coat will be given to someone who needs it.  They are very supportive,” she said.

                At McReynolds’ urging, she has added men’s work shoes and boots to her shopping list for The Shalom Project.  “It’s harder to find shoes in my price range.  The work shoes I see usually cost eight, ten, twelve dollars, but now when I find some at an affordable price I buy them because Allen assures me they will be put to good use,” she says.

                There is always a great need for shoes and men’s coats in clothing closets because many men wear clothes to the thread before discarding them.  With thermometers beginning to register lower degrees, Cindy Jones’s higher degree will help protect many local homeless and needy men against the winter that is upon us. 

                    Her professors never told her to expect to use the degree like that.

               

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Double the Value of Your Shalom Gift

 

 

Through Tuesday, Dec. 3 you can double the value of your gifts to The Shalom Project in Winston-Salem.  Your gift will support Circles Winston-Salem, a new partnership that helps people build a bridge out of poverty by finding, keeping and advancing employment and stable housing.

 

The worldwide United Methodist Church, through its Advance Fund of Global Ministries and #GivingTuesday, will match – dollar for dollar – every gift made during that time.  For every $20 you give, The Shalom Project will receive $40.

 

You have two options for doubling your gift:

  1. On Tuesday, Dec. 3 go to http://www.umcmission.org/Give-to-Mission/Search-for-Projects/Projects/3021241 When you choose Green Street United Methodist Church in Winston-Salem, your gift will be directed to The Shalom Project for Circles WS.   
  2. Send or bring a check or cash for Circles WS to The Shalom Project office at 639 S. Green St. before Tuesday, Dec. 3.   
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Join Winston-Salem’s Kwanzaa Celebration

When we understand Kwanzaa, we understand more about our neighbors. 

2013 Winston-Salem

City-Wide Kwanzaa Celebration

December 26 – January 1

A Celebration of Family,

Community and Culture

Free and Open to the Public!!!

 

Thursday, December 26   Umoja (Unity)

6:30 pm  -  The Urban League, 201 West 5th Street, Winston-Salem 

Theme:  Living In Harmony With Those Inside and Outside My Circle

Sponsor: Winston-Salem Urban League   Contact: 336-725-5614  

 

Friday, December 27   Kujichagulia (Self Determination)

6:30 pm  -  Delta Arts Center, 2611 New Walkertown Rd, Winston-Salem

Theme: Doing All That Is Set Before Me

  Sponsors: Delta Fine Arts, Inc. & Triad Cultural Arts, Inc.    Contact: 336-473-2082

 

Saturday, December 28   Ujima (Collective Works and Responsibility)

4:00 pm  -  Emmanuel Baptist Church, Shalimar Drive, Winston-Salem, NC 27101

Theme: Never Leaving My Brother or Sister Unaided

Sponsors: The Whole Village & Emmanuel Baptist Church Contact: 252-204-7487

 

Sunday, December 29   Ujamaa (Cooperative Economics)

3:00 pm – 6:00 pm  -  Carl Russell Recreation Center, 3521 Carver Road, Winston-Salem

Theme: Using My Talents in Cooperation with The Talents of Others So Together We May Prosper

Sponsors: Carl Russell Recreation Center & Victory In Life Contact: 336-727-2580

 

Monday, December 30   Nia (Purpose) 

6:00 pm  -  Grace Presbyterian Church, 3901 Carver School Road, Winston-Salem

Theme: Finding My Path and Purpose Through Prayer, Meditation and Spiritual Readings

Sponsor: Grace Presbyterian Church   Contact: 336-722-4399, 767-7530

 

Tuesday, December 31   Kuumba (Creativity)

1:00 pm  -  Arts Council Theatre, 610 Coliseum Drive, Winston-Salem

Theme: Freeing Myself to Experience New Ideas, New Viewpoints, New Philosophies, New Understandings

Sponsors: NC Black Repertory Theatre Company & Forsyth County Public Library

Contact: 336-703-2953

 

Wednesday, January 1   Imani (Faith)

4:00 pm  -  Alpha and Omega Church of Faith, 1445 N Gray Ave, Winston-Salem

Theme: Sweeping Away Fear of the Unknown, Past Regrets, Concerns for the Future

and Meeting Each Day with Active Faith

Sponsors: Alpha and Omega Church of Faith & St. Philips Heritage Center

Contact: 336-748-4787

 

For More Information visit the website: http://www.triadculturalarts.org

Triad Cultural Arts, Inc. – Winston-Salem, NC – 336-757-8556

 

 

 

 

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Dreams from our Youth and Children

Children and youth attending the Festival of Faith and Culture Nov. 10 shared the following dreams, using imagination installations’ “imagine when” exercise:

Imagine when “everyone liked you!”       Hailey

Imagine when “everyone lives together.”      Isaiah

Imagine when “everyone lived forever.”     Elijah

Imagine when “there is no school!!!!!!!”   

Imagine when “everybody helps each other.”     Lily

Imagine when “nobody disagreed over anything – no wars.”    Anna

Imagine when “I want to be the first kid programmer.”    Mustapha

Imagine when “there is a world with no hate.”    Sarvesh

Imagine when…”not to have trash all over the place.”   Mohamed

Imagine when “there is no violence.”

Imagine when “everybody was treated right.”    Niara

Imagine when “everybody was happy.”    Alma

Imagine when “everyone is happy.”   Abdul

Imagine when “people are nice to you.”   Carmen Tre Scott

Imagine when “all people are welcome.”   Elisabeth

Imagine when…”I want peace.”

Imagine when “brothers and sisters did not fight.”    Alyssa

Imagine when “everybody loves everybody.”   Lee and Alex

 

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Kwanzaa schedule

Kwanzaa schedule

Winston-Salem’s city-wide Kwanzaa celebration will be observed Dec. 26 through January 1 at locations across the city. All of the events are free and open to the public.

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“Imagining When” at PRIDE Winston-Salem

Visitors to Compassionate Winston-Salem’s booth at Saturday’s PRIDE Winston-Salem Festival brought their imaginations.  Using the Imagination Installations “imagine when” project, they shared their dreams.  We imagine when:

 “No freedom ‘til we are equal.”  Charla Jayde

“Everyone accepts and loves one another.”

“The earth is but one country and humankind its citizens.”:

“Help people.”  Andy

“Peace Reigns.”  Paul

“We all can have equality and equal rights for everyone.”  Alicia Bundy

“Every action is determined by and with love.”  Kevin Mundy

“When people accept, respect and embrace difference.”  Seneca

“It’s about hearts, not parts.”

“We could all get along.  We are all God’s children.”

“Peace makes the world go round.”

“Judging is light to a higher being.”

“The world is free of discrimination.”

“It will not be gay marriage.  It will be called marriage.”

“Our differences are celebrated.”  Sandy

“Careing.”  Kevin

 “Love rules.”  T. Ward

“Light overcomes darkness.”

“Compassion and understanding.”  John

“There is no hate, only love.”

“Love conquers hate.”

“Love others as you love yourselves.”  Chaz

“Your Momma knows you’re at Pride.”  Betsy

“You can be exactly who you are!” Latoya D. Cheek

“Building bridges are more prevalent than building road blocks.”

“We all treat each other with kindness.”  Deborah

 

 

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H.O.P.E. Is Coming to Winston-Salem

H.O.P.E. of Winston-Salem is a new nonprofit, community-wide interfaith effort to bring nutritious meals to children aged 0-18 in their own neighborhoods on Sundays, the one day not covered by the federal lunch program or the backpack program.

Winston-Salem has been in the top cities in the U.S. for several years for hunger in families with children. North Carolina and Louisiana are the worst states in the U.S. this year for hunger in children less than five years old. Malnutrition and obesity are affecting the health and schoolwork of our children. It’s time to change that!

Nutritious food will be bought by H.O.P.E. and meals will then be assembled by faith groups and college organizations and delivered via a large brightly colored truck with music, much like an ice cream truck. Sites will be located in food deserts and poverty areas in Forsyth County. Athletes from WFU and WSSU will be handing out the lunches; faith groups will supervise the children as they eat.

Produce will be collected from community gardens, farmers’ markets and grocery stores, will be bagged with recipes attached and given to adults in an effort to change eating habits in families and therefore improve health.

Faith groups can help in several ways:

  1. Volunteer to assemble the lunches. It will take 4 people less than an hour to make 100 lunches. This can be done at your own church on Saturday or Sunday or at the Loaves and Fishes building on 5th St. across from the central library.
  2. Pay for some of the lunches. It’s a dollar a lunch! If 100 faith groups pay for 100 lunches each month (that’s only $25 a week), we can feed 10,000 children each month.
  3. Do a fundraiser. Donate. Donations are tax-deductible (send to The Winston-Salem Foundation with a notation that it is for H.O.P.E. until our 501(c)(3) goes through).
  4. Be a site for delivery. Contact H.O.P.E. to talk about it.
  5. Plant  Rows of H.O.P.E. in your garden next spring and donate that produce.

Together… with a small effort from many, we can make a huge difference for those who are hungry in our community.

Contact ben@hopews.org or marty@hopews.org or 336 703-5262.

For more information, visit www.hopews.org

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Compassion Games Totals for Compassionate Winston-Salem

September 11th – 21st marked the first time Compassionate Winston-Salem “co-opeted” in the 2013 Compassion Games! So, while we wait for the international group to make the big announcement as to which city ‘won’ the Games, we thought we’d share the numbers compiled on our end. I’m not sure if Winston-Salem has ever attempted to calculate all the acts of service completed and received within a certain period of time, but I have to say how proud I am to declare that during the period of the games,

We had a total of 1378 volunteers
Equaling a total of 5817.5 hours served,
and from those totals, 7830 people were served.

All of that, in just 10 days. Wow.

Thank you to the following groups and organizations for joining in on the Compassion Games, and providing the numbers to we needed to submit a report to Compassion Games International (in no particular order):

  • Bethesda Center for letting us coordinate a group of community-based citizens wanting to connect and serve those in need.
  • Compassionate Action Partner volunteers – Love Letters project and Acts of Kindness Day
  • Purrrlesque – Food Drive
  • The Second Harvest Food Bank
  • Shalom Project – Green Street Church
  • “Welcome Table” – Green Street Church
  • Samaritan Ministries
    • Ardmore UMC served twice within the 10 days!
  • Anthony’s Plot – Festival of Shelters
  • Hospice & Palliative Care – Hospice Healing Drive and Advanced Care Clinic
  • Habitat for Humanity
  • Human Relations Commission of City of Winston-Salem
  • Forsyth County Library – On the Same Page
  • United Way of Forsyth County – Rock the Block Fun Run and Festival
  • Moore Magnet Elementary School – Compassionate Placemats for the diners at Samaritan Ministries

Keep in mind: These were just a handful of organizations and programs we had time to reach out to and ask to join in on the games before they started! Imagining that there were many other groups and organizations committing acts of compassion during the Compassion Games, I feel safe guessing we could have doubled those numbers!

As our website says: “All the events, activities, and compassionate programs listed to compile the numbers for this year’s games were already planned! Imagine what we’ll be able to list for the 2014 Games!” :)

Now that the games are over, the Compassion does not end! Stay tuned to our Monthly Events page to see what other compassionate acts are happening around town. You will find Compassionate Winston-Salem at the LINK-UP festival held at the BB&T Ballpark, Saturday, October 12th, 9am – 12pm.

A big THANK YOU to everyone for their help, assistance, volunteer mindset, and of course, kind-hearted compassion. It is truly heart-warming to witness all the compassionate acts we commit on a daily basis, in our personal and professional lives. Thank you, citizens of Winston-Salem for showing me that my belief of living in a Compassionate City, is in fact, so very true. Please feel free to share with anyone this wonderful news.

In compassion,
Drea Parker

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