Bethel Winter House 2016
The Bethel Winter House Project is in its fifth year of operation. We are raising money to fund the operation of our winter homeless shelter in Bethel Alaska. Partnering with the Lion's Club, our goal is to eliminate fatalities caused by exposure during the cold winter months. With grant opportunities drying up, it is only through support from the community that we will be able to continue to operate. Before we opened, there were many exposure related deaths. We have been able to drastically reduce that number. Please help us to continue to provide a warm safe place for our people who have no other options. Quyana!
I see the people that come to the shelter, out in the community, and they give me a hug and say hello to my husband. I thought yesterday, how easy to love these people who are less fortunate than we are! God said to my spirit, now you see why I love them, they are my children too. It is common for us to pass them on the street with your eyes downcast so you won't have to see them beg for assistance. I have done that, we all have. God help us not to do that again and reach out and help our fellowman whether native or non-native.
the best way to put your life into perspective is to volunteer at a shelter. if you're reading this, you are inside. with enough leisure time to surf the net. some of our customers are not welcome anywhere they go, and move from one place to another just to stay out of the cold. There but for the Grace of God I go. Count your blessings and give a little to your neighbors who are worse off. that little bit goes a long way: a hot meal, a warm, safe place to rest. without being pressed to drink-or worse-just to stay out of the cold. be grateful for what you have. give to someone less fortunate than you, it matters.
I took food to the shelter last night. It was the first time I have physically participated. John went with me. He said are you staying, long? I said, "no I just need to drop off the food"....3 hrs later, we went home, feeling blessed. The guest of the shelter, were so grateful and ate a ton of food. They loved to be treated with dignity which our workers do so graciously. One girl came in with no shoes on and on the verge of frostbite. She had been kicked out of a house by a friend and she had no shoes on. I thank God it was in the 30's last night. Her lips were blue...and I thank God, she came to the Shelter....and I am thankful for all the people on the right of this comment that unselfishly gave to her. She could have died last night! Thank you my brother, Mike for giving to us all the way from Philadelphia...spread the word! John said at the end of the night how it touched him so...he actually went out and bought the lady some socks. :)
we're taking in an average of 10 people per night. we've fed over 50 people a hot, nutritious meal so far.
It's so wonderful to see the community coming together to support this project. It's amazing what can be done when everyone pitches in. Thank you to all who have donated, shared or volunteered!
we had 8 show up yesterday and 8 today. word is spreading. Thanks to Dottie Vasquez, Kathy Helgesen, Matthew Heckman, Monica Iemma & Jonica Thomas for providing food for the people at the Winter House
thank you Sammy's Store for your generous donation of $159.00 worth of cleaning supplies
Winter House opens tonight- Christmas Eve. Thank you. The generosity of our community is a beautiful thing. Merry Christmas.
Thank you for helping us open Winter House. Your recent donations have helped us buy mats for our guests and supplies to clean sanitize each day. Thank you.
You all are so amazing. This really is incredibly important for the community. I have blankets, sheet sets, and a few coats I would like to donate. I can probably find some winter clothes as well if you are taking those. Congrats you all! And let me know what sheet sizes you want, if it matters.
Thank you everyone near and far! Its so nice to hear such encouraging words of support for the Bethel Winter House. We have a dynamic group of people who are working hard on this, all of us have full time jobs, some of us have kids to raise but we still can get it done! Good Job Everyone!
I've only been in Bethel for a couple of weeks, but I am excited to see this project come to fruition in such a short time. I'm blessed to have a home and a heater, a place where I don't have to think about starving or freezing to death, but I know others aren't so lucky. To put it blunt, it would suck to be stuck out in subzero temperatures. I hope you'll donate to our cause and share this with your friends.
One day, I called to follow up on one of my patients' that had a serious wound and he was walking the streets in -40 weather with no where to turn. You see there is not a shelter up here for people who need a hand up. Most of us are cold in the comfort of our homes when its -40 below. We would never let our animals stay out in this cold weather, why would we allow our "brothers and sisters" to be left out in the cold. Thank you for supporting this so noble cause. I thank the board who put this effort together! Great Job!
This is Carla writing not Rusty. Rusty is usually the one who gets involved in these kinds of causes. I would like to tell you all why I became involved rather than just remain in the background as a cheerleader. I have been coming to Bethel for 15 years and moved here going on 4 years ago. My very first memory of Bethel as we drove to from the airport to my kids house was people standing huddled against the cold on the streets and at AC grocery store. I thought they were just going from place to place and would eventually end up back in their warm homes. For some that is the case for others they have a choice of staying in abandoned buildings with no heat, getting drunk so they go to the hospital, sobering center or jail or hoping someone will take them in. After moving here I would drive home in my warm car and would see individuals braced against the elements in clothing that wouldn't be adequate for going from the car to the house. I would wake up at night with that image tossing and turning and feeling guilty. Rusty would come home with that look in his eye and I would know we were going to give some more of our winter gear away. We gave coats and warm pants and some food but it would never be enough to make the image go away. I have people say "it is their own fault" that is true in some cases in some cases the choice wasn't theirs. But regardless of fault we still had 5 people parish last winter due to exposure. So who's fault it is became a mute point people were hurting and needed and hand up. When the group started we were not sure of much but after the first meeting I know it would work because group of people that came to that first meeting were so smart, enthusiastic and dedicated to doing what is right . Now I'm going to ask all my friends and family to get involved with me . Every penny donated will add up and this winter I can sleep better knowing their will be a place for people that find themselves homeless to go sleep, be warm and safe. Thank You
It has been six weeks since I posted information about Bethel folks without a safe place to stay. This has been an amazing six weeks- Thanks to the generosity of the Covenant Church, Bethel Winter House will provide a safe place for adults to sleep and find a meal through January 24th. Christmas Eve will be a happier time in our community knowing that our friends and neighbors that need shelter are safe. You can help.
It is wonderful to see all of the people that are visiting and sharing this site. Crowd funding can be very powerful, just a small donation from a lot of caring individuals can do an amazing amount of good. Thank you for your support of this project, together we can ensure that everyone has a way to survive this winter.