THANK YOU, MEAL PROVIDERS!
Each year, groups of volunteers from churches, businesses, schools and families join together to provide meals to the ladies of the Shalom House Emergency Shelter. Whether monthly, weekly, quarterly or yearly, the volunteers are benefitting the residents and staff of Shalom House in so many ways. Through donating food, volunteers help Shalom House save on money and valuable staff time. By sitting and dining with the ladies, volunteers provide them with a valuable opportunity for social engagement. Please enjoy our homage to the Meal Provider volunteers of 2014!
WILLA'S JOURNEY HOME: A STORY OF HOPE AND HOME
With your generous support, Shalom House published
its first children's book, Willa's Journey Home!
The book is now for sale for $14.95 each and can be purchased at www.willasjourney.com.
Willa's Journey Home is an illustrated children's book that tells a story of hope on the difficult path traveled by homeless women who find their way to Shalom House. The story was written to introduce children to the issue of homelessness while teaching compassion, empathy and respect.
In sharing Willa's story of hope, you can be a part of changing lives by helping to educate and raise awareness about the issues of homelessness. Willa's Journey Home will also generate revenues for Shalom House, supporting holistic programming for the women we serve.
Read the press release about Willa's Journey Home here.
We are looking for volunteers to form an outreach team to help take "Willa's Journey Home" to schools and youth groups in our community! Read the Willa Ambassador volunteer job description here. Interested? Download the application here and return to Danette Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
VOLUNTEER SPOTLIGHT: BETTY NISHIMURA
Each week, Shalom House receives food donations through its partnerships with Operation Food Search, Schnuck's, Aldi's and local churches, many of them United Methodist churches. This means that each week there is a bit of chaos in the pantry until everything can be organized. Luckily for Shalom House staff, we have a volunteer, Betty Nishimura, who comes in every Tuesday to help sort out the newly arrived donations.
Betty is a retired physical therapist and has been volunteering at Shalom House for 11 years. Originally she sat on the Ladies Auxiliary, but stepped down to help take care of her grandchildren. She has been volunteering in the pantry for three years and attends Living Word. She is truly dedicated to Shalom House. "Whenever Betty comes to help out with the pantry, we know everything is going to be great, and it is really helpful for the staff," says Danette Thompson, Executive Assistant. "Each week she takes a huge load off of our shoulders!"
COMMUNITY PARTNERSHIPS WITH BJC HEALTHCARE AND GRACE HILL
One of the many aspects of Regana's position is to accompany Shalom House clients to both psychiatric and physical medical appointments. For many of the women at Shalom House, visiting a doctor can be stressful as they may not have had positive experiences with accessing medical care in the past. Another factor to consider is that within the homeless, transient population such as we see at Shalom House, physical maladies are not highly prioritized; survival is the top priority. Often this leads to minor medical issues growing into major medical issues. For both reasons many of the women cared for by Shalom House utilize emergency rooms as their main form of medical care. Our goal at Shalom House is to educate our clients on the importance of working towards preventative care.
At Shalom House, women who don't go into Transitional Housing or Permanent Supportive Housing often stay for an average of two months in the Emergency Shelter before moving on, most often to another social service organization. Without the assistance of trained clinicians and case managers, the average wait at a community clinic such as Grace Hill is two months. As a result, the women may leave before ever addressing their physical ailments.
Shalom House continues to partner with Grace Hill Neighborhood Health Centers to quickly and more effectively bring general medical care to our clients. Each week, Regana, in collaboration with the rest of the clinical treatment team staff, assesses the medical needs of each woman at Shalom House and determines which individuals are most in need of medical care. On Fridays two nurses connected to Grace Hill's homeless program visit Shalom House and provide each woman with a brief health assessment. Instead of waiting two months for an appointment, the women now only have to wait two weeks! The women are provided referrals to OBGYNs, physical therapists and other specialized medical care to which they otherwise might not have had access. Not only does this partnership with Grace Hill more efficiently and effectively provide health care to our clients, but it also saves everyone money, as emergency room care is extremely expensive.
Partnerships with organizations such as Grace Hill allow Shalom House to truly take our client care and service to the next level. Without Regana, however, such partnerships would be made more difficult--even impossible. And without grants such as the one provided by BJC Foundation, Shalom House may not be able to provide such outstanding services to our residents.