Out of the Cold offers a safe place to sleep and a warm meal. But we go beyond that to provide an opportunity for guests to build a sense of community when otherwise they would feel alone.
Friday, guests start lining up at the church door early afternoon. By around 5:30pm, there may be 20 or 30 people waiting. When we open the doors at 6:00pm, overnight guests are given a blanket and pillow, and rush to claim their beds. It’s quite a sight to see them set up their few possessions to form what is very much their bedroom.
They are offered clothing from a weekly supply of new t-shirts, underclothes, and socks. There is limited distribution of donated coats, hats, scarves, gloves, and shoes.
Guests are then greeted with a cup of hot soup and some bread and sit down for the main meal, frequently reserving spots at the table for their friends. Dinners, bagged lunches, and occasional treats are provided by over 20 local churches, families, and office groups. Many of these groups have been serving for over a decade.
Our activities continue well past dinnertime. We offer a suite of services, including:
· access to a community health nurse,
· shower and laundry facilities for overnight guests,
· movie and popcorn,
· time to talk with volunteers,
· computer access, and
· an extraordinary art program. Guests produce some incredible work, much of which is sold during our art show at the end of each season.
Guests can stay until 9 when we lock the front door. Our overnight guests can then settle down.
Overnight volunteers provide security for our guests. At 6:00am, the breakfast crew arrives and begins preparing a hearty meal. Coffee is set on a timer the night before, so it’s ready for them to drink as soon as they arrive.
Guests often start the day slowly, sitting by themselves for a while. After breakfast, they are given a bagged lunch and sent on their way at 8:00am, when the clean up crew arrives to sanitize the facilities. By 9:30am, you can’t tell we were ever there.
We run from late November through early April. We partner with Dixon Hall to network with other Out of the Cold shelters around the city.
Interested in volunteering? Let us know and we’ll find a way for you to help.
Contact the office at [email protected]