Lue had been on the streets for a while, and was desperately seeking a place to live. All his efforts seemed to fall short, and he was beginning to get discouraged. But an East Hill volunteer named Rodney inspired him to keep going, and directed him towards resources that Lue hadn’t used before.
That encouragement and simple resourcing led to Lue getting off the streets and finding a place to live.
This is just one of the many stories constantly churning out of East Hill’s Homeless Day Shelter – a ministry of the church that has been going for more than two years. The shelter, which runs from 1 to 6 p.m. every Thursday, gives homeless people a safe and comfortable place to get out of the elements, enjoy others’ company, and grow in their relationship with God.
The shelter has eight to 10 different volunteers and about 25 to 30 homeless people each week. During their time at the shelter, they watch television and movies, shoot pool, play games and visit with each other. Most of the people show an interest in getting to know Jesus and developing their relationship with the Lord.
One of the lead volunteers at the Day Shelter, Sandra Parker, excitedly reported that during the first two weeks in April, 10 people asked for (and received) prayer, and six made decisions for Christ.
Aside from positively affecting people’s spiritual lives, the shelter also has helped their careers. Suzy, another Day Shelter volunteer, has gathered clean clothes so that the homeless can look professional when applying for jobs.
In April, Sandra reported that six shelter attendees had found jobs, and two of those families also found permanent housing. The volunteers are always looking out for job and housing opportunities for their homeless friends.
On Thursday, April 14, the shelter had almost 30 homeless people. Volunteers were able to provide emotional and spiritual guidance for three individuals, and pre-marital guidance for two engaged couples. Thanks to that guidance, the couples are now ready to be married.
Food is an important part of the Day Shelter. Each volunteer brings cookies, cakes, soup, etc. to share with the people who come. Volunteers Amy Ryan and John Audary have put leftover food from church functions – such as the Worship Team’s meals – to good use, giving it to the Day Shelter.
“It is great to not waste when others have nothing,” Sandra said.
The hard work of these volunteers not only has helped the homeless with housing, jobs and their faith, but it has kindled an interest in being a part of church groups and even volunteering.
During East Hill’s cleanup day at Gresham High School, four homeless men lent a hand, much to the delight of other volunteers.
Another man named Doug — who recently got a job — regularly attends the Sunday Night Connections Group. He says he is very committed to helping the church in any possible. In addition, a regular attender named Steve often helps clean up the tables as the Day Shelter closes.
“He just wants to help,” Sandra said, “a way to say thank you.”
To learn more about the Homeless Day Shelter or to volunteer, call 503.661.4444 ext. 291 or click here to let us know you’re interested!
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