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Cold weather shelter planning for next season

May 23, 2000|By MARLO BARNHART

Although fall and cold weather are months away, planning for the REACH Inc. Cold Weather Shelter for the Homeless 2000/2001 season is in full swing.

"We have all but three weeks supplied with sponsors for the entire season," said Terri Baker, director of REACH Inc. REACH is an acronym for Religious Effort to Assist and Care for the Homeless.

Area churches have pledged to support the shelter at 148 W. Franklin St. for one or two weeks. Each week is seven days, from Sunday to Sunday, Baker said.

"The weeks of Dec. 24-31, Feb. 4-11 and March 18-25 are in need of a supporting congregation," Baker said.

She said four churches have made tentative commitments - St. John's Lutheran, Christ Lutheran, Church of the Nazarene and Haven Lutheran.

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Already signed up are Christ's Reformed, First Christian, Congregation B'Nai Abraham, St. Paul's Lutheran, Mt. Zion Mennonite, Hebron Mennonite, Presbyterian Church of Hagerstown, Trinity Lutheran, Emmanuel United Methodist, Otterbein United Methodist, John Wesley United Methodist, Williamsport ministerium, St. John's Episcopal and Faith Chapel.

Baker said other churches might want to partner with another congregation instead of taking on a whole week alone and that can be done.

The next big hurdle will be to find businesses, groups and churches willing to provide a week of lunches during the cold weather season.

The requirement is for 40 brown bag lunches a day with one sandwich, chips/snack, a fruit (no apples), and 10 extra sandwiches for shelter volunteers to use as needed.

No drinks are needed but can be included along with messages of hope, love and compassion.

"We have the capacity for up to 50 people a night but that's pretty tight," Baker said. Last season, the nightly number reached a high of about 42 but usually averaged somewhat lower.

The shelter will be open from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. beginning Sunday, Oct. 29.

Anyone needing more information about helping the shelter can call 301-733-2371.

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