Cape Gazette
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Immanuel Shelter opens weekends January through April

Volunteers needed to assist Cape Region's homeless
Nov 24, 2013
Intake at the Immanuel Shelter at Epworth Church begins with volunteers (l-r) Nan Ruhl, Sue Spencer and Patti Trump, who check bags and explain the rules of the shelter.

Few can imagine what it is like to have to sleep wherever a place to fall asleep can be found. Even fewer would want to imagine what it would be like to sleep outside, or in an unheated dwelling in the cold and snow of winter.

Epworth United Methodist Church's the Rev. Vicky Starnes, senior pastor, said, “These conditions are the reality right here in the Rehoboth Beach area. On any given night, there are from 15 to 35 individuals and/or families that live in their vans, cars, or worse yet, in the street."

Stames said we must do more than simply imagine these conditions. "We are called to step up and say, 'No one should endure these conditions,' and take action to offer an alternative in the coldest months of winter."

The local Rehoboth Beach and Lewes churches are working together to offer Immanuel Shelter for our homeless this winter, she said. "Please join the dedicated volunteers of the Immanuel Shelter as often as you are able this winter season as they endeavor to feed and to provide shelter to our brothers and sisters from the harsh winds, rain and snow,” Stames said.

The Immanuel Shelter will open at Epworth United Methodist Church, 19285 Holland Glade Road, Rehoboth Beach, with check-in every Friday, Saturday and Sunday night at 5:30 p.m. from January through April. Dinner is served at 6:15 p.m. and breakfast will be served the following morning before check-out at 6:30 a.m.

The shelter is a volunteer-based effort supported by local Rehoboth Beach and Lewes churches and staffed by members of the community at large from various denominations and backgrounds who make a commitment to serve 2.5 hours several times over the winter season.

Founded in 2010 as a winter shelter, Immanuel Shelter has served more than 55 individuals since its inception. Local housing and economic trending as well as population analysis predict the shelter could serve up to 70 individuals this winter alone. The shelter is actively looking for volunteers who feel the compassion to help those in desperate need by giving three hours a month, or for those who can work in the kitchen, one weekend a month. There is also a need for those who can contribute to the shelter’s budget to house, feed and protect the most vulnerable.

For more information, the Immanuel Shelter can be reached at 302-227-7743.

Marcia Dean is part of the cook crew at Epworth UM Church, volunteers who start early in the day to provide a home-cooked meal to the shelter recipients. (Photo by: Deny Howeth)
Dan Dean, a volunteer in the kitchen at Epworth UM Church prepares the meal of the night, chicken and dumplings. A breakfast is also provided. (Photo by: Deny Howeth)
De Raynes, left,  and Nan Ruhl wheel out the provisions for the evening, including blow up beds and toiletries for showers. (Photo by: Deny Howeth)
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