Stories from the Basement

Stories from the Basement: February 2019

by Donna Clark RN, Director

Every year the Community Emergency Shelter (CESP) project starts in January and runs until March. This is a program that requires a great deal of commitment on the part of the hosting churches each week and is a 24/7 responsibility for the volunteers. The program has been in existence since 2004 and houses an average of 32-40 men each night. Food preparation and serving, registration of the guests, monitoring the room where the men are housed, and overnight supervision make up the bulk of the duties required. The organization by the key volunteer ahead of the week hosted by the church is a huge undertaking and often is a frustrating exercise. It’s very hard to organize overnight coverage and sometimes the scheduled person forgets or gets sick causing a very big demand on the coordinator.

This year the project has run fairly smoothly thanks to each of the church volunteers although, they had some very big challenges to meet the need. The guests seemed fairly well behaved with a couple of exceptions requiring the police to make their presence known at the shelter. Overall it has been a good shelter season so far. We only have until the end of the first week of March and this year’s commitment will be fulfilled.

H.O.P.E., Inc. would like to thank every person involved in the program and we recognize the commitment and sacrifice put out by each and every volunteer. Thank you!!

Leadership for this program has been maintained by Dr. Brenda Jorden LLSC, PhD of Salisbury University and Donna Clark RN of H.O.P.E., Inc. since 2014. The mission of CESP is: Prevent any homeless adult male from freezing to death during the winter months in our community. Over the years we have seen the volunteers who were fully committed to meeting this mission age out and churches are finding it difficult to meet the demands of the program. The commitment to the program is winding down and is at risk of not resuming next year. If you or someone you know would be interested in taking a lead for next year please contact us.

Matthew 22: 34-40