This week will be busy! Thank you to all of the volunteers this week who are putting in time to help us open on Saturday. Special thanks to Hope Ministries who will be orienting the staff and creating the staff schedule.
Staff meeting prep, create the staff schedule prepare to move the mats. (Hope Ministries)
Staff meeting to orient all of the employees on the area, what to expect and how to deal with their new work environment
Cleaning day @ 5:30pm. We will scrub the floors and get the donation room and linen room ready. We will also deliver the supplies that were stored from last year. We will pray over the employees and maybe sign a song or two.
Linen delivery! (150 sheets and blankets) Thank you corporate donor!!!
Last minute errands for Saturday opening
One of the questions we hear frequently is “How many homeless people are in South Bend“? Each year across the nation an attempt is made to complete a “point in time” count of the homeless population. In South Bend this is completed annually around the first part of the year. The snapshot below is a summary of the St. Joseph County point in time count from January 2012.
Remember this is a count from ONE DAY in the year.
120 individuals were classified as completely homeless on the street or staying in weather amnesty. While many find this number surprising did you notice how other agencies in the city have stepped up and are sheltering over 500 individuals! The last statement in the snapshot below is one that also humbling – Street Outreach reports that they have been in contact with over 500 youth in our County who move in and out of homelessness.
Lord let us NOTICE (James 2:1-9) these people in our community and let us all be MOVED (Matthew 25:31-46) to act to YOUR glory (Colossians 3:17).
I was asked to share my thoughts about Project WARM, why I volunteer and what it means to me. I have put much thought to these questions, there are many reasons, but the most important answer is that it is what God wants us to do. I remember hearing about a new outreach project last fall at Clay Church called Project WARM. I was interested right from the start for many reasons. I had been looking for something that I could do giving to others, I have a gift for cooking for the multitudes and I knew that there was a need.
I will tell you that from the start my faith in this ministry has been constant. Wondering if we would have enough meals provided, enough warm socks, etc. and this summer concerns about needing a new location. My faith is strong and I know without a doubt that when we are doing God’s will and His work He will provide. I like to equate Project WARM to the quote from Field Of Dreams, “Build it and he will come”. The volunteers came…the food came…the donations came and most important our guests came.
The second night that I came to Project WARM I was asked by a guest if I was afraid to be there. I told him that I was not afraid to be there, that I was there because I wanted to be. It was so interesting and amazing to see the relationships build from week to week.
I love those men…every single soul that walked through the door! They are in my heart and prayers forever.
If you are thinking of volunteering I will give you my best advice. Don’t be afraid. Smile. Meet these men where they are at, some will be more willing to talk than others. Leave any judgments and preconceived ideas at the door. Pray with and for these men.
If you are considering preparing and bringing food, I have a few thoughts. When I am cooking for our guests I think of them as being my dinner guests and what would I serve them if they were coming to my home.
I use the time while I am cooking to pray for the men that will come to Project WARM that night.
The men love fresh fruits and vegetables. The guests are very appreciative and thankful, they will tell you so. I had a young man apologize to me one night because he had come up for a 4th bowl of chili. I asked him not to apologize. It was wonderful knowing that my work was appreciated. He replied, “It is the only thing that I have had to eat today”.
I know one thing for sure. You will be blessed abundantly if you spend time at Project WARM.
“For it is in giving that we receive.”
-St. Francis of Assisi-
Peace and blessings
We get a lot of questions of what it is like to volunteer so we asked one of our volunteers to write a guest post on what Project WARM volunteering means to them. We could not have asked for a better post!
Volunteering for Project Warm has been a great experience for me. I have also continued my friendships by participating in Project WARM-UP and volunteering at Broadway Christian Parish UMC. It is wonderful being part of a ministry that leads others to God. We help serve a need by giving the men a place to sleep and eat, but what we do by becoming their friends is worth so much more. Watching them change their lives – getting rid of addictions, turning their lives over to God, moving into treatments, etc. is the real goals.
I can say that volunteering for Project Warm has changed my life as well. I have made some wonderful friends – volunteers and guests through this ministry. It has given me a new compassion for others.
It has made me strive for better, more real friendships that are pleasing to God.
I am so excited about the coming year. I have met several men that have became homeless in the last few months. They are so grateful for a warm place to stay. They have heard the great things about Project Warm. Also, I think it is a real testimony that it is continuing on. A lot of ministries start and then go away after a year. The men know that people really do care. That the volunteers did not just do something for one year and forget about them. Also, I am excited that I have several friends that have never been part of Project Warm and they are going to volunteer this year. I don’t think a day has gone by in the last several months that I have not mentioned Project Warm somewhere throughout the day.
I know God calls us to help the homeless. To treat them the way we would want to be treated – better than we would want to be treated.
These men could be our fathers, brothers, sons, or even US.
We have God in our lives. If we did not – where would we be? I believe that God will move greatly through this ministry this year. So many are praying for lives to be changed – and I believe He will be changing even more lives than last year. Maybe even YOURS!!!
Dana Bunch – 2013
We are in a full push to get ready for the 2012-2013 weather amnesty season at Project WARM. We are getting more and more requests for information and what to expect. I ran across my notes from a year ago of week 1 – I’m looking forward to week 1 this year.
Week 1 – December 2011
After a few minutes of watching him through the meal I felt I could muster up enough courage to go over to talk to him. If I couldn’t share my faith with someone who was so intoxicated and would never remember my name, who could I share it with. It was almost a proving ground for sharing God to a stranger. Before I could say anything he asked me “Where is my God, and why don’t I hear from him”? While the previous four weeks had been hectic putting all of the plans together to get Project WARM open, this moment was one that God saw coming but I had not. For the next hour I shared God’s love with Sam and while he may not have remembered everything he and I became acquainted with one another and I think a relationship started.
A year later we are still involved with Sam and tomorrow morning he will attend our Project WARM bible study.
Welcome to the Project WARM website. While our primary communication tool is, and will continue to be, our FaceBook site we realize that it is sometimes difficult to navigate FaceBook. This will serve as our electronic home to have the latest information on how individual or churches can help jump into the Project WARM ministry. Additionally we will share deeper stories about Project WARM, its volunteers and guests.