The 2017-18 Emergency Cold Weather Shelter season closed after the May 17th, Thursday night shelter. This was a very special shelter year; we connected with Turnagain UMC, St. John UMC, First Samoan UMC, and Anchor Park UMC to make this a true Anchorage United Methodist Churches ministry. We also reduced the number of nights from 29 last year to 17 this year, sharing Thursday nights with First Covenant Church. This allowed our pool of overnight volunteers to get through the winter without "burning-out", and it worked well.
The shelter year was different in another sense; the numbers of bed nights served citywide were much lower during first half of the season, although it did increase toward the last third of the winter. For the entire season, we had a total of 161 bed nights, with 83 adult and 78 youth guests.
Many thanks to all who gave donations and prayed for this ministry. Our showers in the MAC were repaired using donations from various sources and we were able to offer our guests hot showers during the winter. The Alaska UMW assembled toiletry packets in the fall to distribute to our guests. The look on the guests faces after a shower and hot meal said it all.
A huge thanks to our overnight volunteers: Jenn Miller (First UMC), Barb and Larry Cash (First UMC), Jed Chamberlain (St. John UMC), Bill Pelke (First UMC), Michael Fredericks, David Hughes, Brett and Tyler Watson (Turnagain UMC), Tia Hollowood (Turnagain UMC), Ben Fish (Anchor Park UMC), Wayne Campbell (First UMC), Tina Racy (St. John UMC), Pastor Nico Romeijn-Stout (St. John UMC), Judith Goodrum (St. John UMC), Kathy Harris (First UMC), Steve Maga (First Samoan UMC), Evangeline Saveena (First Samoan UMC), James Zuke (First UMC), Pastor Steve Fisher (First UMC), and Lucinda Talaga (Central Lutheran).
Special thanks to our set-up volunteers: Betty Hertz who supported most shelter nights (ST. John UMC), Elsa Tutaan (First UMC), Ann York (Turnagain UMC), Alan Dennis (St. John UMC), Pastor Bob Smith (Turnagain UMC), and Lusi Tuiolemotu (First Samoan UMC). Also, great food was supplied by most of the above volunteers as well as warm breakfasts by Kaprice Zuke (First UMC), and Mama Maga (First Samoan UMC).
The success of this program is largely due to the leadership of Pastor Fisher, Pastor Smith, and Pastor Romeijn-Stout who have been supportive of this ministry and talked to many of their parishioners about volunteering. We look forward to a successful 2018-19 winter season.