Although we only have 12 rollaway beds for our SACOH guests, 17 women stayed with us for at least one night. As some left us for a variety of reasons, their beds were back-filled by new guests. We had a core of about nine, however, that stayed the entire two weeks and we were able to get to know them and their situations.
Volunteers filled 223 slots on our Sign-up Genius website to make the project possible. Because quite a few of those slots were unclaimed at the start on October 22, several folks stepped in to handle as many as 16 different tasks to insure we didn’t disappoint our guests. Thank you!
While they were with us, the ladies enjoyed a trip to the Matthews Help Center with a budget of $10 each, making scarves and putting together jigsaw puzzles in the Fellowship Hall, and walking to the cemetery and spring. One of them enjoyed playing the pianos in the CLC and Fellowship Hall and several sang along. One even danced.
They were a cohesive group and were respectful of each other. There was no apparent friction, complaining, or bad behavior. In fact, it was wonderful to see how often they looked out for each other. Bonds were also built between them and those who drove them, fed them, kept them company, and did their laundry!
Many received requested items from a “Needs List” sent out to church members. Suitcases, which were not on the Needs Lists, were always gratefully received.
Several dogs were brought to the church campus to interact with our guests. This brought them much happiness.
In addition to filling their basic needs, we were able to help them with their plans to move forward:
Chef Ron of the Community Culinary School of Charlotte came to dinner one night and gave all of them an overview of the program, where one of our 2017 guests, Seraphina Yarbrough, graduated with honors this spring. Three of them visited the facility with Tandy Graham and received application forms.
Four guests applied and were hired by the new Amazon facility in Concord. They start training at $15 per hour on November 9, but transportation is a problem as they continue to live at the shelter. One of them has a 1999 Plymouth van that needs mechanical attention, especially to the radiator. Many church members have already responded to an appeal for funds for repairs. On Monday November 5 it was towed to a shop for a detailed estimate of what will be required to insure it will be safe and reliable. The four gals hope to be able to find an apartment together in Concord after they can save some money.
We helped another guest buy a used tire for her car so she could safely get it back on the road.
The eleven ladies who were with us at the end of the project received CATS bus passes, thanks to funding by our Outreach Committee.
One of our guests came to us with a serious mobility problem. Due to a 2015 accident and surgery, one of her legs is 3 inches shorter than the other. Her uneven gait is affecting her back and hips. Thanks to observant and helpful church members, she was taken to the Hanger Clinic in Matthews, where she will be receiving a $500 pair of shoes with a lift in one of them – at no cost! She also received a rolling walker to replace her broken one and a knee brace from church members.
This same individual is diabetic and had not been to medical appointments or picked up insulin prescriptions for months since she became homeless. We were able to get her back to her doctor for treatment and prescriptions and into new programs. We also filled the prescriptions and arranged for follow-up appointments.
Week-end drivers made it possible for a few ladies to go back Uptown to attend their church – something they consider important and did not want to miss!
Now that the two-week housing project has ended and the ladies have returned to the SACOH, Project Lifeline begins. Should the guests contact us about needing help through a crisis, a solution may be found by reaching out to church members or by making an appeal to the Deacons’ Fund.
This photo was taken on Friday evening. To express their gratitude
the ladies presented the church with thank-you cards and a green plant which will be displayed in the foyer of the church office.
Front row (L-R): Kim, Michelle, Alisha, Becky, and Renee
Back row (L-R): Lorraine, Melinda, Shelly, Julie, Sandy, and Sandra