This year was one of many challenges as well as learning opportunities for all of us who volunteered in the Interfaith Shelter program at PB UMC. First of all on behalf of the coordinators and Pastor Bob, we would like to thank all who volunteered their gifts, talents and service making this one of our most successful seasons yet. Special thanks also go to the congregation of PB Christian Church, for their continued support and service to the guests here at PB UMC. After a two-week stay here at PB UMC, our guests moved on to the next church in the rotation.
We all knew this season of service was going to be different than that of past years. Tracy Starr was very instrumental in taking on many of the day-to-day chores to help out the volunteers and guests. This year the coordinators had to resume some of the responsibilities (like making sure clean towels were available, trash duties, etc.) with Art’s help as well. Usually our overnight supervisors had the wonderful and almost comfortable PB UMC cot to sleep on, but it was not until after the fist few nights had begun that we located where Tracy had stored it! Thank you overnight hosts. Thank you set-up volunteers.
This year, our guests tended to be more mothers with children than childless adults. This caused us to ask for special need items for our guests: clothing, diapers, allergy-free lunches and dinners, and so forth. A very large thank-you to all of the volunteers and donors, who helped us to fulfill these specialty needs. We’re not sure if this portends a trend in the future, of having more families as our guests, but it seems to point out a gap in community social services that we pray is addressed. On the plus side, we did not have to ask any guest to leave this year for behavior or rule violations, although one guest voluntarily left on the first day.
Our community is filled with a diversity of many ethnic communities, with many different languages. We hope those in the congregation will share their linguistic gifts another (non-English) languages for future needs. Having the ability to communicate in ways our guests can understand is a positive expression of welcome! Thank you Pastor Bob, for extending pastoral opportunities to our guests if they needed to talk. Please keep all of our guests in your prayers as they deal with their own life challenges. Thank you to all those who volunteered to clean the bedding and pillows, so that they are ready for next season. As you can see, being part of this ministry offers a variety of opportunities. We hope that those of you, who have yet to share in this experience, might see a volunteer opportunity that speaks to you. Or perhaps you can see an area that hasn’t been mentioned, that you feel inspired to share with us. The coordinators would love to hear from you, as we look forward to next season. Thank you all!
The ISN Team