The Elizabethtown Winter Shelter is calling out for volunteers to help in their efforts.
This is the fourth year that the shelter has been open to all those that require the Elizabethtown Winter Shelter’s assistance. The organization’s mission throughout the Elizabethtown and Mount Joy communities is to provide a place of comfort and warmth for individuals and families undergoing homelessness and struggles.
The Elizabethtown Winter Shelter is low-barring, which means that they welcome people just as they are and provide services to those in need. This includes warmth, hot meals, complimentary breakfasts, showers and other amenities such as a mat or bed to rest.
The shelter had been run for years out of St. Paul’s United Methodist Church, but is now located at 61 E. Washington St., Elizabethtown. The Winter Shelter runs for 17 weeks and they are seeking at least 63 volunteers for their facility to be able to function smoothly. These volunteers must have a passion for helping others and are open to working in several different areas such as cleaning, cooking meals, helping families move into their new homes, inventory, and creating mentoring teams through Atlas. Atlas works to empower families and individuals of low-incoming backgrounds to reach their dreams and financial stability.
All potential volunteers must undergo a two-hour training session. The next upcoming session will occur on Monday, Jan. 28, from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. in room 110 of the Hoover Business Building at Elizabethtown College. During the training people will be educated on the best practices for the Elizabethtown Winter Shelter and each job responsibilities. The hours to volunteer vary from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., overnight from 9 p.m. to 6:30 a.m., and morning from 6:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. Every person who wants to volunteer must go through background checks such as child abuse records, and resident checks through the process of fingerprinting.
The people that come into the Elizabethtown Winter Shelter must go through a pre-screening process that will help the volunteers there be able to establish the necessary needs for each person and to explore other options for them because the Elizabethtown Winter Shelter should be the last resort for people to use.
“The moment someone comes in their caseworker immediately starts to work with them to figure out a way out for them to a better more self-efficient environment,” said Executive Director Deb Jones. “We are very grateful for our generous community and for the college to make this shelter happen because the nearest one from the Elizabethtown area is 24 miles away.”
More information can be found on their website at www.ECHOSLancaster.org for volunteering as well as a list of ways to give that include donation items. People with questions may contact the Winter Shelter’s coordinator, Francis Rubis, at etownwintershelter@gmail. com or at 717-690-9260.