CARITAS was challenged with finding multiple sites for sheltering men during the week of Thanksgiving this year. Time was running short and we needed a church to commit to fill vacancies on our host site calendar. In response, First Baptist Church, located in Richmond’s museum district, volunteered to shelter an unprecedented 100 homeless men. This effort was preceded by last year’s commitment at FBC to shelter 60 men during the same time period.
Charlie Ball, CARITAS Key Volunteer at FBC, collaborated with Associate Pastor of Christian Compassion Steve Blanchard and many other staff and church volunteers to organize and sustain this endeavor that gave men a place to stay during the holidays---a particularly difficult time to be separated from family and friends. Charlie was complimentary toward both CARITAS overnight guests and shelter staff. According to Charlie, “It was a really good week all the way around.”
Volunteers created a caring, supportive place where all were made to feel welcome. Charlie made special note of the cooperative environment whereby 100 men were able to get showers nightly any time they liked---though the church only has 7 shower stalls and one hot water tank. As Charlie quipped, “You do the math!” It takes faith, leadership, and teamwork to create a conflict-free zone around limited hygiene resources.
Finally, we would like to recognize the many congregations who responded to Charlie’s request for assistance during the week. This was truly a community-wide effort due to the support of these churches---too numerous to mention. Charlie and First Baptist Church would like to say “thank you” to all those who helped make their shelter week a success. The staff at CARITAS would like to thank all our supporters at FBC, those churches and individuals that offered donations, and our dedicated shelter staff for making this week possible. Bless you all….If your congregation would like to become involved in sheltering through CARITAS, please call Sharon Drescher at 804-343-5008 x424 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org