Last week, amid bitter cold and chilling winds, the Wake Continuum of Care issued a call for help to assist with extending White Flag shelter hours and keeping our most vulnerable residents warm. The community responded in a big way.
St. John’s Metropolitan Community Church is the lead on coordinating volunteer recruitment efforts for emergency community shelters. Thanks to donations and volunteers, they were able to serve 339 people with an average of 185 beds filled each night at various community sites.
“It is truly heartwarming to see the community come together in this way and ensure no one had to spend the holidays in the freezing temperatures,” said Wake County Board of Commissioner Chair Shinica Thomas. “We’re so grateful to those who stepped up and gave a few hours of their time or donated to this important effort – they truly saved lives!”
Thanks to the community's support through the six-day event, Rev. Vance E. Haywood and the team at St. John's MCC received:
- 135 volunteers who came out to support the White Flag shelter system;
- 515 hours of volunteer assistance;
- 120 boxes of food and supplies donated; and
- $5,775 donated to the shelter fund set up through the church
These efforts meant that no one who needed a safe, warm place to stay was turned away.
The Continuum of Care is made up of 50+ public, private, and non-profit organizations working together as a community to ensure homelessness is rare, brief and one-time. When temperatures drop below 35 degrees, the Homeless Emergency Response Committee (HERC) coordinates opening temporary shelters under a “White Flag.”
With winter just underway, leaders encourage everyone to bookmark the emergency shelter webpage. During an event, this page is updated with shelter locations, hours and contact information. Volunteer sign-ups and donations are welcome year-round to help the homeless.