Local church opens its seasonal homeless shelter
By Blake Mayes
On October 1, the homeless shelter at First Covenant Church opened its doors for the first time this season.
First Covenant Church, located at 810 South 7th Street, works in partnership with Harbor Light Center, which is run by the Salvation Army. The homeless shelter at First Covenant serves as an overflow for guests that the Salvation Army is unable to accommodate. The building has a maximum capacity of 50 guests and is typically completely full.
Those who stay at the shelter must commit to staying for 28 days and having an 8p.m. curfew as a way to stay accountable.
Norm Blagman, coordinator of the shelter, said that while the center is a great way to reach the lost and the broken, it can also be a great learning experience in servanthood for Christians.
“As Christians, we all have a story of redemption; we can learn from the people that come to the shelter,” said Blagman.
Blagman added that there is an appropriate way for volunteers to approach guests.
“As children of God, we need to treat the guests as equals,” said Blagman. “We must come with a willing heart and come to serve and not judge.”
Currently, First Covenant needs volunteers to help in the morning from 5a.m. to 7a.m. Volunteers will help distribute a continental breakfast and pick up sleeping mats and chairs. There is also an evening shift that runs from 5:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. with tasks such as monitoring restrooms and distributing linens and hygiene items. Volunteers do not have to commit to coming every day, but a regular schedule is preferred.
The shelter will be in operation until April 30, and North Central students can use this opportunity to fulfill the requirements for a ministry service learning credit.
Students who are interested in volunteering can contact First Covenant Church at 612-332-3125.