Talbot Interfaith Shelter, Talbot County’s first emergency cold weather shelter, is set to open in January and is in need of volunteers and donations.
The shelter is being organized and hosted by a 12 local faith communities who became aware of the need for a shelter in Talbot County. According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, more than 120 people in the county were homeless in 2008, including four families with a total of six children. Twenty-four of those people were homeless for the first time when the Jan. 29 survey was conducted.
The shelter’s steering committee has spent the last six months planning and organizing, and has modeled Talbot Interfaith Shelter (TIS) on successful shelters in Queen Anne’s, Kent and Anne Arundel counties.
Five Easton congregations and one in St. Michaels have volunteered to serve as TIS host sites for a week at a time, starting Jan. 4 at Christ Church of Easton, continuing to the end of February and possibly into early March, depending on local need.
“It is heartwarming to see so many faith communities working together to provide a safe haven for those needing overnight cold weather shelter,” said steering committee member Evelyn Sedlack.
Volunteers are needed from around the community, and need not be affiliated with any religious group. TIS will open every night at 6 p.m. and run until 7 a.m., with volunteers needed to provide meals and transportation, to serve as evening or overnight supervisors, and to do laundry. Monetary donations are also needed to help with shelter operations.
The Talbot County Department of Social Services and local law enforcement agencies are referring guests to TIS and providing many support services.
In addition to Christ Church of Easton, host sites include Third Haven Friends Meeting, Shore Harvest Presbyterian, Temple B’Nai Israel and Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Easton, as well as Christ Church of St. Michaels. Many other local congregations are also partnering with host sites to run TIS each week, including Fairview Church of the Brethren in Cordova, Easton Church of the Brethren, Presbyterian Church of Easton, St. Mark’s United Methodist Church of Easton and Union United Methodist Church of St. Michaels.
For more information, to volunteer or to donate, contact Evelyn Sedlack at 410-822-0605 or Lisa Menditch at 410-745-6563. Donations may be sent to Christ Church, St. Peter’s Parish, 111 S. Harrison St., Easton MD 21601, designating TIS as the recipient.