Brrrrrrrr-ito It's Cold Outside
Earlier this week we had an unexpected cold snap here in the Concho Valley. Every year when the first freeze occurs, I always think “wow, it seems like it’s getting earlier each year.” I definitely thought that this time around. But, thanks to social media, I was reminded that in October 2020 it snowed here…so maybe it wasn’t earlier than that, but it was still early!
CVCAA is one of several partner organizations in the Concho Valley Homeless Planning Coalition. We have been actively collaborating with our partners to offer services and assistance to our homeless neighbors. What is exciting about the Coalition is that there is a strength to how each partner organization brings their experience and expertise to the team. There is a homeless crisis in this country, and the Concho Valley is no different. It will take the work of a lot of organizations to make a difference. Instead of just one or two agencies trying to tackle this, many agencies are coming together, coordinating their efforts, and making real headway into providing solutions to the crisis.
For instance, this time last year several Coalition members rallied together to provide hotel rooms for homeless neighbors during inclement weather. The United Way of the Concho Valley sounded the call, and CVCAA, Concho Valley Transit, St, Paul Presbyterian Church, Westside Baptist Church, First Presbyterian Church, West Texas Counseling and Guidance, Methodist Healthcare Ministries (and the Wesley Soup Kitchen), and Maximus (they administer state benefits just in case you didn’t know) jumped in to create a gameplan to get folks into shelter ASAP. That plan was called Into the Warmth and over the course of the winter helped over 180 unique individuals find emergency shelter in either a hotel or at a congregant shelter provided by the City of San Angelo. It was a remarkable thing to be a part of…people and agencies working together to quickly create solutions and make it happen.
Once winter ended, the Coalition kept discussing, refining, and planning for this winter. I’m proud to say that we have an even stronger game plan for the upcoming winter…one that utilizes resources in a way that hopefully gets even more people into shelter at a lower cost. The Into the Warmth program is only activated when the temperature hits 36 degrees or lower with a 50% chance of precipitation overnight or at 32 degrees or lower with no precipitation.
But we need YOUR help to make it work. We need donations, both financial and material. We need donations of your time as well. It takes money to run emergency shelters. It takes donations of non-perishable food and drink. It takes donations of blankets and towels.
But the biggest need we have is for volunteers to donate their time to help run the shelter. This might seem scary at first, volunteering to be around people you don’t know who are in crisis. We have a team at the shelter each night that is ready to assist, to carry the burden of the organization and logistics so volunteers can do other tasks like making sure the coffee is fresh and hot, handing out food, and prepping cots.
If you choose to volunteer your time, we have different time slots to fill.
- 9p-midnight – prepping cots, checking in neighbors, handing out food/drink
- Midnight-6am – this shift is mainly to be ready in case a neighbor needs something overnight. Most the time our neighbors are asleep, but from time to time one will awaken and need something
- 6am-9am – checking out, cleaning up, and putting away cots is this shift’s responsibility
And remember, we’ll have a staff member or 2 there to make sure it all goes smoothly.
If you have items you want to donate, you can drop them off at either CVCAA or St. Paul Presbyterian Church. If you have a financial donation, please go to CVCAA.org/donate or simply drop a check in the mail. We’ve had some generous financial support over the past few years of working with the homeless, but every dollar counts and will get used to provide the resources and services our homeless neighbors need. If you want to volunteer your time, we have 2 links for you.
- This link is for you to use as an individual. Since we don’t know the nights the shelter will be activated, save the link, and visit it when we open the shelter and sign up for a time slot.
- This link is for community groups and religious organizations. We’re asking that each group consider volunteering for a week at a time…providing some volunteers and hot meals. You would only be providing volunteers on the days the shelter is activated…if it’s not active then you wouldn’t need to report for duty.
So please, when the temperatures drop again and you’re thinking about getting a cup of hot chocolate and sitting by the fireplace, remember that our homeless neighbors are in the elements, in the cold, needing a place of safety. Help us provide that help!
For Everyone Born,