WARSAW — Dangerously cold temperatures are prompting people to spend more time indoors, but for many that option is not available.
For those who have no warm place to call home, organizations like Fellowship Missions offer shelter, food and necessities. According to Fellowship Missions Director Eric Lane, as of Tuesday, Jan. 12, there were approximately 48 residents staying at the shelter, with 11 of them under age 15.
The idea behind Fellowship Missions goes beyond providing a roof and food.
“It’s not just about the sheltering, it’s also helping the individuals gain the knowledge and tools so they can go out and lead a self-sufficient lifestyle so they can maintain jobs, maintain a house,” Lane said. “We’re here to help them move forward in life and it’s not just individuals. It’s families, single parents, even youth. We have a lot of kids who come through the shelter with a parent or families.”
The goal is to get residents back on their feet, established in homes and in jobs. To accomplish this takes generosity from those in the community in the form of monetary donations, items and volunteer time.
“We need the material things,” Lane said. “We can’t avoid that. We need staff, we need the building, supplies. We need people. We believe that’s where the life change happens, when people invest in other people.”
As far as donations, besides financial gifts, Fellowship Missions accepts clothing, particularly kids’ shoes.
“Kids outgrow shoes so quickly,” Lane said.
Food donations, hygiene items, cleaning products and bedding are a few of the things people can donate. Baby items are also often in need, including diapers, baby wipes and formula.
Volunteers are valued at Fellowship Missions, as they can fill a variety of roles. There is no age limit and tasks are assigned accordingly. Lane encourages families to volunteer together. Lane’s family often helps out at the shelter.
“My wife and I have always been advocates of being able to serve as a family,” Lane said.
Examples of volunteer roles include kitchen staff, front desk workers and meal servers.
“We average over 120 meals a day, so we need people to come in and help with that,” Lane said.
One-on-one mentors are also needed to come alongside residents during their particular tough times.
Those wishing to donate items to Fellowship Missions can drop them off at 1520 E. Winona Ave., Warsaw, between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. Monetary donations can be sent to P.O. box 382, Winona Lake, IN 46590.
Those wishing to volunteer can call the Fellowship Missions office at (574) 268-9555 or email Nadine Gibbs at [email protected]