Homeless Network of Yakima County
This week we would like to thank Englewood Christian Church for their continuing support of the Extreme Weather Shelters.
The members of Englewood Christian Church have been supporting the Homeless Network of Yakima County’s Extreme Winter Weather Program since it began more than seven years ago. The church, along with others in Yakima, has provided a warm, safe place for those who are homeless to spend the night during the winter months.
“It started back when Sunrise Outreach was managing or overseeing the program,” said Becky Buell, one of the manager/directors for Englewood’s Extreme Winter Weather Shelter Program. “David Hanson, Executive Director of Sunrise Outreach, asked David Helseth, who was Pastor here at that time, if he would consider allowing them to use the [church] for the site of an Extreme Winter Weather Shelter.”
According to Buell, this occurred right as the church was changing its approach to the ministry.
“We were working on a transformation process at the time within the church, and becoming what we call a missional church, and it fit right into that,” said Buell. “The church agreed that we would do that, and it’s become a big part of our mission.”
“The first person that managed [our program] was a military man, he was a quartermaster in the Army for 26-years, and so he got it going and it just continued from there,” she went on to say.
Managing a project like this can be a very draining task due to the time and effort required. Eventually, that first manager decided it was time for someone else to lead Englewood’s program. At that time a couple stepped forward and ran it, but after a year they decided that was enough. This year three couples, and one individual took responsibility for the program.
“Each of the couples did two nights a week in terms of being here to check in our guests and to feed them, and to get them settled,” said Buell. “We also had monitors who came in every night. We always had to have a minimum of two monitors to open the shelter.”
Along with providing a place for those who are homeless to sleep, members of the church also served meals to their guests.
“Members of the congregation, and friends of the members of the congregation provided meals, a meal, for our guests every Sunday night,” said Buell.
The rest of the week meals were provided by a variety of organizations and individuals.
As long as they are needed, Buell does not see Englewood’s commitment to the Extreme Winter Weather Shelter Program ending.
“We are a missional church and it’s an important mission.”