At the end of the 2021 Winter Season I would like to say that the model for our Outreach and Engagement Center was a SUCCESS above and beyond what I had envisioned. At the close of the O&E Center on March 31, 2021, we served a total of 70 guests and were able to connect most of our guests with housing resources which included accommodations at the Red Roof Inn here in Enfield which was managed under the direction of Community Health Resources Enfield office. Not only did we operate as Triage and Assessment on Sundays and Wednesdays we were also assisting with phone triage for those who were unable to access the O&E Center.
We were also able to supply much needed items as well as conversation to our guests. Attendance was consistent even though some evenings were slow at times. One evening we had a woman come into the O&E Center in tears seeking a peaceful refuge after a family disagreement. She said she stopped in because she saw the lights on. As I sat and spoke with her she said that she apologized for coming because she was not homeless and just needed to vent. I told her that our mission is to serve and comfort ALL who are in need. We also had one of our male guests who’s mode of transportation was an RV pile in others from the Red Roof Inn who wanted to come to the center so they would not have to walk. Not only was it humorous it was also heartwarming to see them helping each other out during these trying times. *** Please see the information below.
The O&E Center was also able to assist Pat Sulik, Director of the North Central District Health Department with their plans to administer COVID-19 Vaccines to the homeless who were staying at the Red Roof Inn as well as in our community. The O&E Center was able to reach out to the homeless and coordinate appointments for anyone who wanted to be vaccinated. Pat was fortunate enough to have doses of the J&J vaccine available for them specifically and I am glad to say that we had about 10 out of the 20 guests at the hotel vaccinated including 3 who were not at the hotel but either couch surfing, sleeping in their car or outdoors.
The O&E Center was also instrumental in making sure that the guests at the Red Roof received their hot meal from Loaves and Fishes every evening by dropping it off to them. Thank you to Lorraine Creedon for assisting on Wednesday evenings with the hot meal drop off!
Our volunteer base dwindled down to 8 by the end of the season however, we were still able to do what we needed to do every evening that we were open. Each night not only did committed volunteers serve our guests but they also helped to sort clothes, put together care bags, assist with clean up and sanitizing, donating items to our guests and keeping everything in order faithfully!
Here is our newest PSA that was produced by one of our board members Marc Warnock and was voiced over by his wife Claire Warnock. We would like to thank them for helping to get the word out about the Warming Center and how we are approaching this winter season.
The next time you or I go to complain raise your hands up and tell God forgive me. Let my hands and my mouth clothe the homeless, feed the sick, and let not one gift in me depart with me when my chapter is closed. There is always someone somewhere worst off than you and I. God forgive us! Tears!