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Church opens its office to the homeless

Ministry — A drop-in center at the 2nd Street Community Church office provides a day-time place where people can stay warm during the fall and winter


It was a simple question that popped into Jodi Hansen’s mind while serving as a host at the Newberg Homeless Shelter last fall, but one she had never really had to consider before.

What do women at the shelter, or the homeless and displaced in general, do during the day when the weather is bitterly wet and cold?by: SETH GORDON - Hang out spot -- Staff at 2nd Street Community Church have given up some of their office space to create a cold-weather drop-in center, which is currently open on Mondays, but will expand to Fridays soon. The center will be a place where those without a place to go during the day can get a cup of coffee or simply get out of the cold.

Hansen asked some of the clients as they were leaving the shelter that day and she was told, because it was a Monday, nothing would be open to them, so they would probably sit in the pavilion at Memorial Park.

After consulting with Love INC (In the Name of Christ) executive director Polly Siler, whose organization’s clearinghouse is open for assistance during the day Tuesday through Thursday, and basically getting the same answer, Hansen was determined to find a solution.

A year later, 2nd Street Community Church, which Hansen attends, has reconfigured its downtown office space — with a lot of help from George Fox students on Serve Day in September — to accommodate a drop-in center, where people in need can grab a cup of coffee, hang out and just stay warm.

“It was like 37 (degrees) and raining that day,” Hansen said. “Another (woman) said she would probably stay in her car, so I kept asking questions, like what do you usually do in the day? A couple of women said they like to go to the library, but it’s not open all the time and there just aren’t a lot of places for them to go if they don’t have money to buy a cup of coffee and be in one of the coffee shops or whatnot.”

The center made its debut Oct. 14, hosting a handful of people, and is currently open from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. Mondays, but plans to expand to Fridays in November.

To create room for the center, which is funded by the church and an anonymous donation, the church’s three main pastors and ministers agreed to coordinate their schedules and share one desk.

Hansen and 2nd Street also partnered with Love INC to train the volunteer hosts that will staff the center.

“They just said, ‘Let’s do this,’” Siler said. “That’s the beautiful part, I think, seeing they’re right there on First Street, they saw a need and they met it. That’s being the church to the community.”




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  • 18 Apr 2014

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