Shelter REACHes out to provide a warm place to stay

November 09, 2009|By ERIN JULIUS

HAGERSTOWN -- Though the past few days have been unseasonably warm, area residents know that colder weather is on the way.

To protect those who have no roof of their own, REACH opened its cold weather shelter on Sunday, Oct. 25.

"I think it's great we have a place to come to. They feed us good. We can take showers, socialize and talk to people," Viney Pearson said Friday night.

Pearson was one of 35 people who stayed in the shelter that night, when temperatures dipped to 26 degrees, according to local weather observer Greg Keefer's Web site at

The shelter has been averaging 40 to 45 people a night since it opened, Executive Director Jodie Stock said last week.


Pearson came to Hagerstown about a month ago from South Carolina. She said she left a "dead town" where there were no jobs and nothing was happening.

She came to Hagerstown with her daughter and grandson to stay with friends. The friends "threw us out" and suggested they go stay at the shelter, Pearson said.

The family has been staying at REACH's shelter since it opened for the season.

Pearson spends her days walking around, sometimes going to the library or "anywhere you can get in," she said.

REACH also has a day center for the homeless, called the Day Resource Center, which is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday during the winter.

"This organization is one of the blessed things this town has," said one man who declined to give his name.

The day center allows people to make phone calls and look for work, he said.

On Friday night, some of the shelter's clients watched television while one woman sat at a table putting together a puzzle.

The First Christian Church of Hagerstown on Potomac Avenue was responsible for volunteers that week.

Volunteers made the dinner of fried chicken, green beans, bread, mashed potatoes and cookies, a meal that received rave reviews.

For the last smoking break of the evening, before lights are out at 10 p.m., more than a dozen men and women went downstairs and out to the parking lot behind the shelter.

One man took table scraps and set them out for a family of kittens.

To help...

Anyone who would like to volunteer at REACH's cold weather shelter may call 301-733-2371, ext. 108.

Items needed

The following items appear on REACH's "needs list." Anyone wanting to donate items may take them to REACH at 140 W. Franklin St. in Hagerstown between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Monday through Friday.

o Chicken noodle soup

o Saltine crackers

o Ginger ale

o Jell-O

o Ground coffee

o Instant coffee

o Instant hot chocolate

o Creamer shakers

o Dry cereal

o Instant oatmeal packets

o Travel size or small size foot powder & shaving cream

o Powdered drink mix

o Instant Gatorade

o Powdered milk

o Paper napkins

o Tissues

o Large 55-gallon drum liners

o 13-gallon trash bags

o Hand wipes

o Hand sanitizer (60 percent alcohol base), personal size and larger size

o Disinfectant wipes

o Stainless steel cleaner

o Multi-purpose spray cleaner

o CLR or Limeaway

o High-efficiency liquid laundry detergent

o Pre-treatment laundry stain remover

o Plastic shower curtains

o String-like mop heads

o Sponges

o Disposable rubber gloves

o Non-latex gloves

o Heavy work gloves

o Socks

o Men's undershirts

o Underwear

o Thermal underwear

o Pillows

o Face masks

o Monetary donations

The Herald-Mail Articles