Helping the Homeless! A Church Mobilized
If Christians have ever wondered what they could do to help the most in need or even how to get involved in programs that serve the needy, the opportunities surround us daily! The deeper one goes in the volunteer ranks the more one will learn of all the areas that are needing help in the homeless services category. Over the last few years it has been Ekklesia Church's privilege to pour ourselves into several local ministries and service organizations that provide direct assistance to low economic residents and to the literally homeless in the Port Orchard area. There are food assistance programs, housing programs, emergency shelter programs, hygiene programs, clothing programs and job assistance programs. The list goes on and the service opportunities continue to grow. The question for Christians is how to get involved and how to provide the most effective assistance to combat a problem that is only going to grow and expand in our culture. Here are a few opportunities to get plugged into organizations that are helping the needy and homeless today.
Volunteer at Helpline Food Bank- there is a daily need for volunteers on a regular schedule to assist in the food distribution building and later in the spring with the hothouse management of the plants.
Helpline Food Bank- volunteers are needed periodically to help pick up firewood for the food bank and construction projects on the food bank property.
Volunteer at the Salvation Army in Bremerton- they are in constant need for workers in their daily kitchen preparation and also in their nightly shelter that will be running into the Spring.
South Kitsap Severe Weather Shelter Volunteers Needed- The training scheduled for Thursday evening, Jan. 19th was completely filled with 60 participants. The next training will be Thursday evening, Feb. 2nd from 6pm till 9pm. Workers are needed and the DEM (Department of Emergency Management) will manage the schedule for all volunteers.
Donate to the Severe Weather Shelter- many items are needed in order to operate the shelter. Monetary donations may also be made on the
First Lutheran Church web site that is managing all donated funds.
Donate to the new Port Orchard Hotel Voucher program. The Helpline Food Bank will now be receiving donations from the entire South Kitsap area including churches and service organizations. People in need of emergency housing in a hotel will now be able to receive vouchers from KCR (Kitsap Community Resources), Helpline, Law Enforcement and the South Kitsap Fire Department. Churches will now be encouraged to coordinate their efforts through these agencies and simplify our efforts to help the homeless.
Help with the Feeding Centers- Numerous churches provide feeding centers throughout the month and volunteers are always needed.
Volunteer at the Coffee Oasis- There are opportunities to help in the afternoon program and to provide food once a month for their teen night program.
Tiny House Village for the Homeless- This project is still in need of acquiring a location. Many churches, organizations, Kitsap County Commissioner Garrido's office, Port Orchard Mayor's office, Habitat For Humanity and KCR have partnered to make this happen. When the right plot of land is decided upon many volunteers will be needed!
There are so many ways the Church can pour itself into the lives of the needy. We need only to ask and to volunteer. If we do this then the Name of Jesus is glorified in our community and the Kingdom of God will expand in our city.
Greater things are yet to come. Greater things are still to be done in this city!
Volunteer Training For Our New Severe Weather Shelter
On Thursday evening, January 19th over 60 people from Port Orchard and many churches gathered to be trained by the DEM (Department of Emergency Management) to help staff our new Severe Weather Shelter for the Homeless. DEM trainer, Jason McMillan stated this week that he had never had a training completely fill up like this week's event. There certainly is excitement in Port Orchard to make this Shelter a reality. Tim Blair made a report Tuesday afternoon (Jan. 17th) before Port Orchard Mayor Rob Putaansuu's Homeless Committee. Tim had been tasked in October to develop this Shelter and with the help of Pastors Adrian Bonaro (First Lutheran), Joel Faust (Harper Church), Chris Nolte (Elam Lutheran) and Shirley DeLarme (United Methodist) this shelter will be a reality in a week. It is the DEM's desire to have our shelter open for business on Thursday, January 26th and for all nights after that if the need arrises. As the days of severe weather become less of a possibility in the coming weeks we will know that our crew is trained and ready for work come next Winter.
There will be another training for those unable to register for the first session on Thursday evening, February 2nd from 6pm until 9pm. It will also be held at the Port Orchard United Methodist Church. In order to attend all volunteers will need to register on the DEMs web site shown below.
register at www.kitsapdem.org/classes.aspx
They will provide you with a downloadable application which will require you to provide your social security number for a background check. Bring your application to the volunteer training on Thursday evening, Feb. 2nd.
Supplies Needed For the Shelter
The Shelter will also need supplies to make the program happen. We will need cots, plastic covered mattresses, disposable pillows (cheap ones), blankets, and many other diverse supplies. I (Tim), Joel Faust from Harper Church and Roland from United Methodist have been tasked with securing the needed supplies. Donations are being received and coordinated at the First Lutheran Church. Their web site has a place you may donate to help purchase the needed items.
If you would like to purchase some of the needed items you may drop them off at the United Methodist Church on Mondays, 1/23, 1/30 & 2/6 from 12:00noon to 2:00pm. You may also give your purchased items to Tim Blair and he will take them to the United Methodist Church.
Needs List for Shelter
1. Pillows- 20-40
2. Comforters (full sized) 20-40
3. 20 Mattresses- plastic covered- $90.00 per
4. contractors garbage bags
5. duct tape
6. rubber gloves
7. Hats, scarves & gloves
8. child & adult diapers
9. puppy pads for the beds and cots
10. cup o' noodles
11. decaf coffee
12. Lysol/ air freshener