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REACH Cold Weather Shelter needs additional sites

August 13, 2003|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

With the 2003-04 REACH Cold Weather Shelter opening two months away, six weeks worth of additional sites are needed to serve as shelters, according to REACH Executive Director Terri Baker.

Hosts are needed for one-week sessions from Nov. 23-30; and for Dec. 28-Jan. 4; and for two-week sessions from Feb. 22-March 7; and March 7-21.

The season opens Oct. 26 at The Presbyterian Church of Hagerstown.

All sessions begin and end on Sundays. The shelters are open Mondays through Saturdays from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. and Sundays from 3 p.m. to 7 a.m.

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"We are excited about moving into a permanent shelter site in 2004, but until that time, we need additional sites," Baker said.

REACH - Religious Effort to Assist and Care for the Homeless - is expected to relocate from Hebron Mennonite Church to the old Cannon Shoe Factory next to Christ's Reformed Church at 130 W. Franklin St.

Last winter was the shelter's seventh year of operation. A total of 376 different people were housed with an average of 38 guests per night and an average stay of 16 nights per guest, Baker said.

The shelter served nearly 19,000 meals during the 2002-2003 season.

Churches or other organizations interested in participating do not need to provide kitchen access. Lunch bag dinners can be prepared at another site and brought in, Baker said.

Organizations also are needed to help with monetary donations, lunch preparation, and supplies of dry food, paper products and other needs. The shelter also needs toiletries, winter gloves, scarves and thermal underwear.

Hundreds of volunteers have signed up to help at the shelter locations but more could be put to work, Baker said. The organization's Web site, reachcaregivers.org, is updated with needs and news on a regular basis.

Already signed up as either sites or to provide other needs are The Presbyterian Church of Hagerstown, Congregation B'nai Abraham, Christ's Reformed, St. John's Episcopal, Hagerstown Church of the Brethren, Faith Chapel, St. Paul's Lutheran in Funkstown, St. John's United Church of Christ in Clear Spring, Hebron Mennonite, First Christian, Trinity Lutheran, Christ Lutheran, Hagerstown Church of the Nazarene, Grace United Methodist, Williamsport Retirement Village and Seventh-day Adventist Church, St. John's Lutheran, Otterbein United Methodist, Rehoboth United Methodist, John Wesley United Methodist, St. Mark's Lutheran, the Williamsport Ministerium and New Light Metropolitan Community Church.

For more information, call 301-733-2371.

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