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Monday, November 4, 2019
Our SACOH guests returned to the shelter this morning. As in previous years, this outreach mission has been a blessing for them and also for us.
They were amazed by the many acts of love they received – women who turned the Fellowship Hall into a temporary home and prepared toiletry items for them, drivers who faced rush hour traffic to transport them, individuals and groups who prepared and served them meals, hostesses who spent nights with them and addressed their immediate needs, women who provided every-day and boutique clothing and did their laundry each week, and all those who responded to their requests for specific items. According to Sign-up Genius, 129 individuals filled the 329 volunteer slots.
They also appreciated visits by Chef Ron of the Community Culinary School of Charlotte, Chaka Gibson, who spoke on “Recovering from Your Mistakes,” Jill Fung, who played cello during their dinner, Kat McEntee and Tandy Graham, who provided art projects, and Nathan Gilbert, who explained the history of our church. Also, they were pleasantly surprised that two of our former SACOH guests volunteered as hostesses!
Moreover, our volunteers were also blessed with the opportunity to connect with individuals whose paths they wouldn’t normally cross. They met women who are dealing with stressful situations we can’t even imagine – and gained a better understanding of their challenges.
Three of our guests were born in Vietnam, Liberia, and England. All of the original 12 women have been homeless for some time. One did not report for pick-up on day 10 and did not leave a message with us or the shelter. Another was admitted to Atrium Main on day 12 with severe flu symptoms. The group photo is of the remaining 10.
Last night we said farewell. Pastors Walt and Lal prayed for them and all offered support. The ladies surprised us with a lovely plaque and a thank-you card.
Now our relationship with them will continue as we transition to our Project Lifeline. We may be able to help some of them through crises that arise. In the past this has included providing or restoring cell phone service, helping with transportation (including CATS bus passes) and employment/education fees, paying co-pays for critical medications, assisting with housing searches, and providing used furniture. As situations occur, appeals for assistance utilizing the time and talents of the congregation will be made. The church’s SACOH Fund provides financial assistance directly to this endeavor, and the Deacons’ Fund often helps as well. Donations to both are tax-deductible but cannot be designated for a specific individual in order to protect the Church’s tax-exempt status.
Thank you, Providence Presbyterian for all your love, prayers, generosity and support.
Tandy Graham, Jill Maxwell, & Brenda Stone