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Homelessness Awareness Week with the Interfaith Shelter

Homelessness is a sensitive topic; it’s something we know is out there, but to what degree? It may be something that comes more to the surface during the colder months, or perhaps when you see a person in need on the street. At the Interfaith Shelter, they average about 65 clients per night. The Interfaith Shelter is not just a place for the homeless to rest their head for the night, they provide temporary shelter and other essential resources to people experiencing homelessness or poverty. Clients can stay at the shelter as long as they are making positive progress toward their goals. For some, this could be a week or two, while others need a few months to secure housing.

All images from the Jackson Interfaith Shelter on Facebook

The Interfaith Shelter is able to provide a variety of resources to get clients back on track. They recognize that the homeless may need assistance with furthering their education, bettering their mental health, or becoming job-ready. Local organizations and churches within Jackson often come to the Interfaith Shelter to share their resources. Some include mental health screenings by LifeWays. Likewise, the Community Action Agency screens clients for housing and offers a weekly finance class. The College and Career Access Center provides help with resumes, GED preparation, and job hunting. Other talents that are shared with the shelter come from chiropractors, barbers, and even weekly job fairs. What the Interfaith Shelter calls Dinner Church occurs every Wednesday, where eight churches rotate and offer a service right at the shelter, and these services are open to anyone.

On average monthly, the shelter has seen 60 out of 76 beds filled per night, 22 of those being children, this year. The Interfaith Shelter has served about 4,707 meals per month, which are open to anyone who needs them, homeless or not.

Homelessness Awareness Week is November 13-19.

There are many ways to get involved, big and small. The Interfaith Shelter is hosting a fundraiser through the Jackson Culver’s located on O’Neil Drive. You can help by stopping by Culver’s on Tuesday, November 15 from 4-8pm to order a meal, dine-in or drive-thru. A portion of the proceeds made in that time will support the Jackson Interfaith Shelter. While you’re there, you may see some familiar faces from the Interfaith Shelter delivering meals to your table.

Dinner Church

Outside of Homelessness Awareness Week, the Interfaith Shelter is always looking for volunteers and donations. Volunteers can be utilized as meal servers and front desk help, which allows the staff to have more one-on-one time with clients. Donations that are always appreciated include blankets, food, scarves, and hats. Clothing is not accepted at the shelter.

Think of the holiday parties you are hosting or attending within the next few months. The Interfaith Shelter would greatly appreciate any leftover dishes that went uneaten. Maybe you bought one extra bag of chips for the tailgate you attended last weekend. They will surely be enjoyed at the shelter.

There are often questions and clarifications needed surrounding the homeless population. A lot of those questions can be answered on the Interfaith Shelter’s podcast, Shelter Together. On the podcast, they host guests and talk about the reality of homelessness in Jackson County.

For more ways to engage with and stay up to date with what’s happening at the shelter, sign up for their weekly emails here. Otherwise, be sure to follow the Interfaith Shelter on Facebook and Instagram to stay informed.