Trinity began the Winter Shelter in January in 2009, serving as the sole shelter site, seven days a week, in the Trinity’s Great Hall. Since that time, the shelter has become a truly ecumenical effort with the participation of other churches: First United Methodist Church, First Christian Church, First United Church and the Wheeler Mission. Now there are many volunteers from all over the community, including many students.
The shelter provides a warm, safe place for those on the street who have no place to go and who do not meet qualifications for admission to the other shelter sites in this community. The Interfaith Winter Shelter is a low-barrier shelter, which means that the guests are allowed to stay if they follow the rules respecting one another, the volunteers and the facilities. The guests travel from site to site each night and are welcomed by the site volunteers and site directors. The only requirement that the guest must meet is to be wanded by a trained volunteer. This is to prevent concealment of any weapons. There have been no reported deaths due to someone freezing to death since the shelter began. Incidents of severe frostbite have also declined.
Here are the scheduled sites for the 2016-2017 year:
Sunday night – 1st United Methodist Church (219 E 4th St)
Monday and Tuesday night – 1st United Church (2420 E. 3rd St)
Wednesday night – Trinity Episcopal Church (111 S Grant St)
Thursday and Friday night – 1st Christian Church (205 E Kirkwood Ave)
Saturday night – Wheeler Mission (215 S Westplex Ave)
This is a ministry of hospitality and support for our brothers and sisters on the street. There are opportunities to volunteer time and to make in-kind donations. Typically, there are five shifts, beginning with setup at 7:30 pm and ending with cleanup the next morning at 6 am to 7:30 am. Volunteers may help at as many sites as they desire for any shifts they prefer, even multiple shifts in one night if their schedules would allow. Volunteers do not work alone, and many find that they often receive more from the interactions with our guests and other volunteers than they ever expected. (Volunteer training sessions are offered as each season begins – check our Events Calendar or Announcements section of the website for specific dates and times.)
This is an opportunity that will have a lasting impression on those who volunteer. Please consider offering your time and support of this outreach ministry.