In these days of social distancing, I am reminded of the power of community to remain connected in support of one another and our wider community. As we continue to navigate this tender moment in the life of our nation, indeed our world, I am filled with a profound sense of grace and thanksgiving for the deep wells of care and hospitality extended to some of Hartford's most vulnerable citizens through AHCC’s Warming Shelter. Thank you for stepping into the space of our neighbors' needs with the sharing of time and friendship extended our shelter guests; culinary expertise; monetary donations; last minute trips to the grocery store; donations of toiletries, books, and stuffed animals; and prayers of support! The congregation's response was positively overwhelming! Because of your commitment, our church:
- Served a total of 101 women, men, and children on Wednesdays from December 4, 2019 to March 11, 2020
- Assisted 2 families in settling into permanent housing
- Provided service opportunities to 8 youth and 55 adult AHCC Volunteers and 6 children and youth of AHCC members and community friends
Thank you to all for putting your faith into action through AHCC's Warming Shelter. Our time of service was not only a moment to make a profound difference in the lives of those who sought shelter with us, but a treasured gift of time where we nurtured our relationships with each other and our God. For those who signed up to provide a meal but did not have opportunity to do so, we thank you for your willingness to serve. The congregation's response was so enthusiastic that we had more volunteers than opportunities.
Finally, thank you to my staff colleagues for your support of the Warming Shelter and partnership over the last fifteen weeks. Your contributions, along with those of the congregation, were key in providing a positive experience for our church and the community.
As the City of Hartford seeks to respond to the needs of our city's homeless population, the Marshall House Salvation Army, AHCC's partner in the Warming Shelter program, reports that they are in need of donated meals for the 60 individuals currently housed at their facility. Citywide, nonprofits like the Salvation Army and Hands on Hartford report that community members are coming to them hungry and overwhelmed by their housing insecurity. If you are able to provide a meal for the Marshall House Salvation Army, please contact them here. The Marshall House Salvation Army would greatly appreciate assistance during this moment of crisis.
I am grateful for the opportunity to coordinate AHCC's Warming Shelter and pray the comfort and strength of our God's presence with you and our community neighbors in the days to come. Remember to (figuratively) lean into each other and all that gives you life. In the words of a dear colleague, “stay safe, be well, find peace.” This is my wish for you.
Grace and Peace,