Bethany United Methodist Church
Tuesday, December 05, 2023

Cold Weather Shelter Ministry


Ministry to the Homeless

When the forecast is for temps 32 or below, the CWS is open for business from 5 pm until 8 am the next day. Bethany UMC houses the program but volunteers come from Windcrest UMC, Coker UMC, John Calvin Presbyterian, Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church, and Haven for Hope. Two volunteers from Haven for Hope always bring a third person to help. They arrive about 6:30 pm and stay all night, every night. We are very grateful to them because without their help, we could not open! The HFH men are the ones who prepare the sack lunches for our guests to take the next day. Sandwiches, fruit, chips, cookies and bottled water are all included in the lunch.
A typical opening runs like this: Snacks are set out and decaf coffee is ready and waiting when guests arrive. A hot dinner is prepared by willing volunteers. Laundry and shower facilities are available and enjoyed by our guests. Time is spent watching movies, playing cards, backgammon, reading donated books or magazines or simply resting in a warm, safe environment. Volunteers  visit with guests in the Fellowship Hall and clothes, etc. are distributed from the Shelter Closet. Sometimes a devotional is provided for guests who want to attend. Lights are out at 10:30 pm. At 5 am, the Breakfast Buddies from Coker UMC prepare breakfast and distribute the sack lunches. Shelter guests help put away the blankets and mats then pile the sheets in the laundry area. Volunteers show up after the shelter closes to take the sheets home to launder.
As you can see, it is a big group effort to keep the shelter running. It is truly needed in our area and thanks to the Bethany congregation for supporting this ministry for over  a decade. Your prayers and donations of socks, underwear, shoes, jackets and more are needed and appreciated!  
Matthew 25:36 says, “I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.'  
James 2:16 says, “ If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it?”  
Some of our pastor friends visit with a homeless guest.
Some of our dedicated volunteers cooking and even pausing for a picture.  Thank you all!