By Terry Rogers
As the weather turns colder, volunteers for Code Purple and other homeless shelters in Milford begin to prepare for nights when the temperature drops in the area. Until December 15, the shelters are open when the temperature will be below 32 degrees, but after that date, until March 15, the shelters are open every night, providing a warm bed, hot meal and comfort to area homeless.
Code Purple operates a shelter at Avenue United Methodist Church for men only but there is overflow available if they start to exceed capacity. There are also shelters in Seaford and Laurel for men only as well as shelters in Bridgeville and Seaford for women and children.
“Any churches who are looking to become an approved Code Purple sanctuary should contact us directly to discuss details,” said Nikki Gonazalez, Executive Director for Code Purple in Sussex County. “Anyone in need can also contact us through our hotline at 302-519-0024 and that hotline gets answered 24 hours per day, 7 days per week by a live person. We will try to get them to the nearest shelter. We are always in need of volunteers, referring those interested to our website where there is a list of the types of volunteers we need.”
Ms. Gonzalez said that Code Purple is in need of volunteers to fellowship with guests, to pray with them or assist with short Bible study, G.E.D. training and study help as well as job search and training. Many of those who use the services of Code Purple are in need of life skills training and budget planning to help them end the cycle of homelessness.
In addition to Avenue Church, the Milford Community Center also offers a homeless shelter which accepts women and children. The shelter is open every night regardless of the temperature and the doors open at 5 PM. Guests are served dinner from 5:00pm to 7:00pm and the doors are locked at 10:00pm. The shelter holds up to 16 individuals who are provided a free hygienic bag, a shower, food and clothing.
Donations are accepted at both the Milford Community Center and Avenue United Methodist Church. They need monetary donations to cover the cost of electricity, heat and water. They also accept clothing, towels, hygiene products and food items.
Both shelters offer dinner which may include a main dish, bread, vegetables and dessert. Volunteers provide the food as well as beverages.
“It is hard on our guest’s stomachs to have red sauce repeatedly, so we like to provide a variety of foods,” Ms. Gonzalez explained. “In the past, we have served meatloaf with mashed potatoes, chicken and dumplings, hot dogs with chili, soups, stews, tacos and meatball sandwiches.” The Milford Community Center also accepts frozen meals to serve to guests when other meal items are not available.
Male volunteers are especially in need for overnight hours at Avenue. They do not cook at the church, so meals need to be brought already prepared. Anyone who is interested in volunteering can come for a night to get a feel for how the shelter operates.
For more information about providing food for Avenue United Methodist Church’s Code Purple shelter, contact JoEllen Kimmey at 302-632-7988 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. To volunteer, visit https://codepurplesussexcounty.com/volunteers or click here. To volunteer or donate to the shelter at the Milford Community Center, contact Andrew Scott at 302-725-0770 or by email at email@example.com.
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