This past weekend, we wrapped up 3 months of hosting an overflow homeless shelter in the First Pres Fellowship Hall. First, let me just say that I cannot thank you enough for being the hands and feet of Jesus to these homeless guests over the past 89 consecutive nights. Your continual encouragement and sacrificial service made it possible to provide a warm and hospitable refuge from the cold for about 20 men every single night during the season. For the 4th winter in a row, our church family has emphatically said “yes!” to hosting this seasonal shelter, knowing the heavy lifting that will be required. And for the 4th year in a row, God provided exactly what we needed, exactly when we needed it! Reflecting on the season, here are some important stats:

  • Over 89 nights, you provided 2,225 individual meals. 
  • You spent 1602 hours staying up overnight.
  • Almost 150 different volunteers filled 364 total volunteer spots for the season.
  • We had 20 site coordinators who made a weekly commitment to run the shelter one night a week.

This is what it looks like for a church to be a movement of love in a city. Not only that, we didn’t do this alone. Over a dozen organizations, churches, and student groups pitched in! This year we added groups from Wake Forest, Salem College, and even the Mount Tabor High School Soccer team! The overflow homeless shelter system in the city of Winston Salem is one of the finest examples of the entire Body of Christ coming together to serve that I’ve ever heard of. We should be thankful for the blessings we are in each other’s lives, and in the life of Winston Salem.

Please continue to be in prayer for the homeless guests who will now have to figure out what is next. Many will return to the streets, some will seek assistance at permanent shelters, and even some will move into housing. Our leaders will follow up with some guests, but many will be off our radar for months at a time. Perhaps the past three months will teach all of us to be more aware of those on the margins of our society.

Thank you again for all you’ve done to help the overflow shelter this year. May God bless you going forward, and may we never be the same for our encounters with Jesus this winter.