Thursday, 03 May 2012 09:43
The diocesan Respect Life Social Justice office, with the help of hundreds of volunteers, will continue to play a role next winter in providing shelter, food, and fellowship to homeless men and meals for the women’s shelter.
The diocese cooperated with Advocates to End Chronic Homelessness in February in providing a venue for the Warming Souls Winter Overflow Shelter. Inner Faith ministries provided the staff to oversee the men’s shelter and Mosiac Church oversaw the women’s shelter.
Next year Inner Faith Ministries will be the coordinator and oversee the staffing as AECH moves into working full time on permanent housing for the homeless.
Bonnie Toombs, director of the Respect Life Social Justice office, said she was thankful for everyone who helped make hosting at Holy Savior Parish during February so successful.
“We had 21 parishes represented through volunteers as well as Newman University, the Spiritual Life Center staff, and the Sisters of St Joseph,” she said. “Several of our Catholic schools had their students collect food or prepare lunches for the men. It truly takes a community effort to provide an atmosphere that is safe, welcoming and conductive to building relationships.”
Toombs added that other parishes and individuals donated funds to help run the shelter, which operates from Nov. 1 to April 1. “The Lord’s Diner provided the meals for the women’s shelter for five weeks,” she said.
Over 2,763 people volunteered in some capacity.
Toombs said patrons of the shelter said they appreciated the welcoming atmosphere and the volunteers’ kindness.
“The church calls on all of us to embrace this preferential option for the poor and vulnerable, to embody it in our lives, and to work to have it shape public policies and priorities,” Toombs said.
“But first we have to see all those who are poor and vulnerable as children of God created like us in His image,” she said. “As children of God we are responsible for one another. Each person should have the resources to become the person God created them to be.”
Warming souls quick facts
• 375 men and 95 women were guests at the shelter.
• Ages ranged from 16 to over 56.
– 118 have high school diplomas
– 78 have GEDs
– 8 have a college degree
– 5 have a master’s degree or Ph.D.