Samaritans Group’s Shelter to Open Jan. 2

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Church of the Nazarene, in Kingstown, hosts the Samaritan Group homeless shelter beginning Jan. 2

The Samaritans Group’s Emergency Winter Shelter is open Tuesday, Jan. 2. January through March each winter. The shelter provides a place to sleep and stay warm in one of the local churches, staffed primarily by volunteers. The Samaritans make efforts to allow guests to attend school, get to work, and have access to resources for other services they may need.

Guests are referred by the Kent County Department of Social Services. All guests are required to remain drug- and alcohol-free during their stay in the shelter.

Guests in the shelter receive a free hot dinner, a breakfast and a bag lunch the next day.

First United Church hosts the Samaritan Group homeless shelter in February.

Three local churches provide space for the shelter: The Church of the Nazarene hosts in January. First United Methodist Church takes over in February, and Chestertown Presbyterian Church hosts for the month of March.

Martha Wefelmeyer, a Samaritan Group board member, wrote in an email Dec. 28, “January – March 2017 we served 670 bednights with approximately 180 volunteers. In 2016 we served 557 bednights. A bednight is one person sleeping at the shelter, eating dinner & breakfast there and having a packed lunch to take with them for the day.”

Wefelmeyer added, “We have hired a new Shelter Director this year, James Diggs, Pastor of the Church of the Nazarene. His phone number for more information is 443-480-3564. We have also hired a Resource Worker to assist our guests with finding permanent housing, employment, and other community services.”

The Samaritan group provided almost 700 bed nights for guests during the winter of 2014, averaging eight to ten guests a night for the three months the shelter was in operation. In 2015 and 2016, the shelter provided more than 700 additional bed nights. During the remaining nine months of  the year, the Samaritan Group serves those who need emergency shelter by providing temporary stays in local motels.

The Samaritan Group, a non-profit community organization, has been working to shelter Kent County’s homeless since 2001. In addition to the winter homeless shelter, it provides outreach services including help with finding permanent residences or paying utility bills, working with landlords to avoid evictions, help with the cost of emergency medical care and coordination with local agencies to provide clothing, furniture and child care necessities.

To volunteer, go to the Samaritans’ website and fill out the volunteer form, or call 443-480-3564 and leave a message for the volunteer coordinator.

For more information, or if you know someone in need of a place to stay, call 443-480-3564 or email samaritangroupkent@gmail.com.

 

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