(Above: Congregation member and President of Charter House Coalition Doug Sinclair gives the Youth Group a tour . The youth then got to work getting rooms ready for the winter emergency housing.)
As we move into fall and the nights get colder, those in our community who are sleeping under the stars, in cars, or in make-shift enclosures need the support of our community for shelter and food. On any given day in Addison County there are typically about 125 adults and children who are homeless.
Charter House Coalition is a volunteer based non-profit founded 11 years ago to support our neighbors in need. The Coalition has been providing food and winter shelter at Charter House since 2008. This work is accomplished largely by volunteers in the Vermont tradition of neighbor helping neighbor. It is supported by churches in the Middlebury area, high school and College students, and the general community. This winter Charter House will provide a place to sleep, eat, and find general support for up to four families and 12 individuals. Last winter Charter House was a temporary home for 55 different individuals and 6 families. In response to a clear need, this winter the capacity to support families will be doubled. The Charter House Shelter expects to open from October 15 to April 15.
In spite of the challenging circumstances our guests face, Charter House is a happy, welcoming place. Dinner time is fun for all the guests and volunteers as we all share a meal in a family style setting. All are touched by the experience. As one volunteer told her church at the end of last winter, “I received more than I gave.”
There are many ways you can help make a difference in the lives our neighbors who are struggling:
- Donate twin bed linens, pillows, and towels
- Donate warm winter clothing, coats, boots, gloves, hats of all sizes for men and women
- Donate hygiene kits containing soap, toothbrush, toothpaste, and a wash cloth
- Donate non-perishable food items
- Conduct fundraising initiatives or make personal contributions to support Charter House
- Volunteer and bring a friend to help staff Charter House for shifts ranging from 2 to 3 hours
- Volunteer to help prepare and serve food at one of our Community Meal Programs that operate every day of the week.
- Several 90 minute volunteer orientation and training sessions are being offered at Charter House (27 North Pleasant Street in Middlebury) in the coming weeks with the first set being as follows:
Tuesday, October 6 at 9:00 am or 7:00 pm
Saturday, October 10 at 9:30 am
Monday, October 12 at 9:00 am or 7:00 pm
If you have any questions or would like to volunteer but cannot attend the scheduled training sessions please contact Doug Sinclair at firstname.lastname@example.org or 989-9746. If you wish to donate items, please drop them off in the dining room at Charter House Monday through Thursday morning or contact Doug Sinclair.