Winter Outreach Needs You
by Rob Good,
Christ Church Cathedral
Christ Church Cathedral and St. John’s, Tower Grove, continue to work with Winter Outreach, a volunteer organization that provides emergency shelter for people experiencing homelessness. Through this ministry we strive to live out our baptismal covenant to seek and serve Christ in all persons, loving our neighbors as ourselves.
The COVID pandemic has required Winter Outreach to adjust their procedures to provide shelters with larger spaces and more ability to keep guests socially distant. This season both churches are partnering to staff an emergency shelter at St. Paul’s UCC at 3510 Giles on Monday nights when the temperature drops below 20° or 25° with inclement weather.
Winter Outreach has worked with infectious disease specialists to develop procedures that decrease risk for both volunteers and guests. While the guests will be screened through temperature checks, potential volunteers should assess their personal health needs and their willingness to assume risk when determining if they want to work directly with guests or in some other capacity.
Because we will be staffing a larger space this year, we are in need of more volunteers. Volunteers sign-up to be “on-call” for a specific Monday through on online schedule. If the temperature drops below the threshold, volunteers are notified that the shelter is activated. New volunteers are always paired with more experienced partners. There are several roles for which you can volunteer:
- Greeters arrive at 5:30 p.m. and remain until 9 p.m. They welcome the guests, make them comfortable, serve dinner, and provide a safe and caring environment during the evening.
- Innkeepers arrive at 9 p.m. and remain until 7 a.m. the next day. They maintain a quiet and restful environment through the night and distribute breakfast and bus tickets in the morning (we always need more innkeepers).
- Clean Up/Set Up arrive at 7 a.m. to clean and sanitize the shelter. They also place fresh linens on the cots in preparation for the next time the shelter is open. This role does not have any direct contact with guests.
- Food Team prepares hearty and healthy meals for the guests and greeters. These meals can be made in advance and frozen. This role does not have any direct contact with guests.
If you or your congregation are interested in volunteering with Winter Outreach this season, please contact Rob Good at firstname.lastname@example.org.