News and Opinion from Sisters, Oregon

Four churches to provide winter shelter

Sunday, December 1 marks the beginning of the fourth year the Sisters Cold Weather Shelter will open its doors to those members of the community who find themselves without stable housing during the winter months.

This year four local churches are sharing their facilities to provide temporary housing each evening during December, January, and February:

•?December 1-15 Shepherd of the Hills Lutheran Church.

•?December 16-January 12 Sisters Community Church, The Hangar.

•?January 13-February 9 Westside Church (New Hope building).

•?February 10-29 Episcopal Church of the Transfiguration.

This will be the first year the Lutheran Church is hosting the shelter. Westside Church has leased the now-vacant New Hope Christian Center at 222 Trinity Way as a space for their food bank and to house the shelter for parts of January and February.

On Monday, November 4, 5:30-7 p.m., the shelter steering committee will be holding an open house for the community at New Hope to showcase the new facility and provide an opportunity for volunteers, donors, and the community to learn more about the shelter, volunteering, committees, and providing meals.

Training is provided for volunteers before they begin, and ongoing training opportunities are offered free of charge. To work in the shelter a background check must be completed. No check is needed for providing meals. A free training with Ryan Dowd is being offered at the Unitarian Church in Bend on November 13, 2 to 5 p.m. Offered by the Homeless Leadership Coalition, Dowd will be talking about how to work with people experiencing homelessness.

There are a number of ways to be of support to the shelter besides serving as early evening monitors from 5 to 10 p.m. Dinner can be prepared at home and brought to the shelter. Non-perishable, single-serve food stuffs can be purchased and provided for breakfasts. A gift of money may be donated to sponsor a breakfast or dinner.

Donations of warm winter clothing and camping supplies are always welcome. There are several committees that handle various responsibilities for the shelter such as the Year-Round Services Committee addressing the needs of the homeless for showers, lockers, and laundry facilities. Some guests have dogs, which are not able to stay in the shelter, and volunteers offer to care for them.

Signing up for meals and early evening monitoring can be done online after being registered as a volunteer. The shelter also has a Facebook page.

The shelter will be hiring monitors for the “Night Owl” shift from 10 p.m. to 7 a.m.

The cost of running the shelter amounts to approximately $10,000 a month. Shepherd’s House Ministries will again provide support and administrative assistance to the Sisters shelter, acting as their financial agent. Donations to the shelter should always be noted as being for the Sisters Cold Weather Shelter. To make a donation, make check payable to Shepherd’s House Ministries and write Sisters in the memo line. Mail to Shepherd’s House Ministries, PO Box 5484, Bend, OR 97708. To donate online go to https://shepherdshouse


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