Severe Weather Shelter Network is always looking for opportunities to tell our story…which of course means telling the stories of our guests. We receive these stories from our volunteers, from our parter organizations and from our own experiences serving on shelter nights.
Let me share a story or two now to give you an idea of what a shelter night is like. The good, the bad, and the Blessed.
The first night I sheltered as an Overnight host was one of our very first nights ever. I was terrified! I had never really engaged with people experiencing homelessness before. I was afraid of the stereotype and the myths that were circling in my head. It took three phone calls and lots of encouragement from my team lead to make me come.
I am so glad I did! Even in that first night I began to see how these beautiful people were just like me. They had dreams for what they wanted to do. I could see how life had handed them a challenging situation or three that landed them in the church that night. They were so grateful to be warm, to be fed and to be welcomed by a group of loving volunteers. It changed my life.
Now let me tell you another story from another night just last year. We had opened in order to participate in the annual Point in Time survey hosted every January. We had a good group of people staying with us that night. One of our guests struggles with his alcohol addiction, but even more recently, we have been watching pretty serious mental health challenges enter the picture. That night he got very confused and felt insecure because the night runs differently on Point in Time night. Unknown people asking to many personal questions, trying to have him participate. It was too much. Eventually he lost control of his temper and became a threatening presence in the shelter. For the first time ever I was frightened by what he was saying. I am so grateful for our relationship with law enforcement. I was able to call them and have this gentleman removed to a safer situation for the night.
Fortunately, this last experience is in the minority. Most of our guests feel welcomed, loved, supported and encouraged. Our volunteers feel blessed to get to know our folks and remember how blessed they are to go home and to work the next day.
Severe Weather Shelter Network works every day to tell the story of those we serve. We want to help our neighbors know and understand how it is that our guests have landed on the streets. We want to invite them in to help us create and implement the pathway out of homelessness.
We provide shelter in the winter months…but we are active all year round building relationships and telling the story. Will you help us continue telling the story?
You can do that today by giving a gift during the 40 HANDS in forty days campaign! We are just 10 days out now from the end of the campaign. We still have a goal of $10,000 through 200 givers!
We celebrate that 45 individuals have given so far. We are amazed and humbled by our total of $8,389 at this point in the campaign! God is SO good and faithful!
So…will you be one of 155 givers to give $10 or more in the next 10 days? Will you share this post with your friends, family and co-workers and invite them to give? A small gift to provide a BIG opportunity for our guests to be loved, encouraged and supported in their journey.
Thank you! Thank you from the very bottom of my heart for the ways you serve, give and support the work we are doing!
Lynn Ann Huizingh
Click the link below and give your gift today!