Emer­gency Ro­tat­ing Shel­ter look­ing for more vol­un­teers

Cecil Whig - - WE ATHE R - By JANE BELLMYER Sun­rise Sun­set 6:51 a.m. 4:45 p.m. 49 49 45 Nov 29 Dec 13 High 12:49 a.m. Low 8:17 a.m. High 12:58 p.m. Low 7:13 p.m Dec 7 Nov 29 44 44 43

jbellmyer@ce­cil­whig.com

— The Ce­cil County Emer­gency Ro­tat­ing Shel­ter will be­gin its win­ter sea­son Nov. 27, but is still look­ing for vol­un­teers to fill gaps in its sched­ule.

Shenise Daugh­try, di­rec­tor of emer­gency ser­vices for Meet­ing Ground — the non­profit home­less ad­vo­cacy group that runs the pro­gram — hopes to fill those spots soon.

“We have a lit­tle over three weeks to be sealed,” Daugh­try

ELK­TON

said Thurs­day.

The pe­riod from Dec. 12 to Jan. 8 are the main weeks that need at­ten­tion, she said.

“We have a few nights cov­ered and Christ­mas din­ner is cov­ered,” she said.

Hol­i­days aside, Daugh­try said this is a busy time for her of­fice as well. The Home­less Memo­rial Ser­vice is sched­uled for Dec. 21, which is the long­est night of the year.

Ev­ery year, Daugh­try said she tries to find a cen­tral theme for the sea­son ahead. How­ever, she al­ways finds her­self go­ing back to an Old Tes­ta­ment scrip­ture: Psalm 91:1, which reads “Who­ever dwells in the shel­ter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty.”

“We need to be a shel­ter like that,” she said. “What we do is a tem­po­rary thing that hope­fully be­comes an eter­nal thing.”

The shel­ter runs Mon­day through Sun­day for 16 weeks. While churches typ­i­cally play host, Daugh­try said smaller churches, clubs, teams, civic groups and com­pa­nies also par­tic­i­pate by of­fer­ing to feed and fel­low­ship with the shel­ter guests for a night or two.

“Overnight mon­i­tors are the most press­ing need,” she said.

Those peo­ple are on duty from 10 p.m. un­til 8 a.m. The job en­tails stay­ing awake — which can be done in shifts with the oth­ers on duty — in case one of the guests has a prob­lem or con­cern.

Five Rivers Church has an es­tab­lished fa­cil­ity for the shel­ter com­plete with built-in bunk beds and a com­mer­cial kitchen. How­ever, other churches in Ce­cil County that have the space host the shel­ter them­selves. Daugh­try said the Five Rivers site on White­hall Road in Elk­ton is used by smaller churches and groups.

Guests check in at the Mary Ran­dall Cen­ter on Stock­ton Street in Elk­ton and are brought to the host site each evening. The guests de­part each morn­ing by 8 a.m. Al­most 80 peo­ple were guests last year, Daugh­try said. On av­er­age, each night there were 30 to 35 guests.

But Daugh­try is get­ting in­di­ca­tions that those num­bers may go up this sea­son.

“We typ­i­cally get 12 to 15 new peo­ple each month,” she said of her in­take job at Mary Ran­dall. “We’ve had 14 new peo­ple al­ready in Novem­ber.”

Just about any or­ga­ni­za­tion can vol­un­teer to fill the empty slots for one night or more.

No church af­fil­i­a­tion is re­quired, but those serv­ing overnight must be at least 18.

Any­one in­ter­ested in pro­vid­ing din­ner and fel­low­ship, stay­ing overnight, or host­ing for a week should con­tact Daugh­try at 410-620-4701.

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