Trinity is gearing up for our ministry to homeless women, Room In The Inn. One week out of the year we provide safe overnight lodging and meals for about a dozen guests. This program has been very successful, not just for temporary housing, but in helping the parent organization, Homeward Bound, help these folks work their way into permanent homes.
Volunteers are needed to spend the night and to drive the van in the late afternoon and early morning.
If you haven’t participated in the past, give it a try. It takes only one night and provides such a wonderful gift to these women who have never had many of the things we take for granted.
Sign up online here or Call the church office @ 828.253.5471 for more info.
Evening Van Driver will pick up clients no later than 5:45 PM from the A-Hope Center at 19 N. Ann Street in downtown Asheville, then drive them to church. Driver can be male or female.
Dinner Team consists of one or multiple people and will provide dinner for our clients for one night. Dinner should serve 16 people. Dinner will need to be dropped off by 5 PM in the Fellowship Hall. Please include instructions if necessary about reheating.
Host Team consists of at least 2 adults (or 2 families) who will arrive at the church to set up dinner, serve dinner, and then host an activity for our guests. Children are welcome! The Host Team job includes:
1) Setting out dinner materials (food, plates, etc.) at 5:30 PM and serving dinner upon our clients’ arrival. Dinner will already be at church and is not the responsibility of the Host Team.
2) Setting out lunch supplies for the women to pack their lunches for the next day at 5:30 PM. Lunch materials will already be at church and are not the responsibility of the Host Team.
3) Be available to interact with the women.
4) Cleaning up dinner and lunch materials before departing at 8 PM.
Note: Dinner may be provided by the Host Team, but is not required. Please let us know if you’d like to provide dinner in addition to hosting!
Overnight Team consists of two adults, one of which must be female. One person must be awake at all times. The Overnight Team will stay with the women overnight at Trinity, serve breakfast the next morning (breakfast supplies will be at church and are not the responsibility of the Overnight Hosts), and straighten up the church after pickup. The Overnight Team will arrive at 8 PM and leave church around 6:30 AM the next morning.
Morning Van Driver will pick up the women in the church van at 6:30 AM and transport them to the A-Hope Center at 19 N. Ann Street in downtown Asheville. Driver can be male or female.
What are the rules for the women in the program?
The women must be emotionally stable, not currently affected by drugs or alcohol, and willing to abide by the other rules of the program which prohibit alcohol, drugs, foul language, fighting, weapons or anything else which would disrupt a peaceful week.
What are our rules?
We treat them as valued guests. We don’t force ourselves on them if they don’t want to talk, but neither do we exclude them from conversations by treating them as if they were invisible. We don’t ask about their situation in any way that would make them uncomfortable or invade their privacy (“What’s your favorite meal?” is ok. “How did you become homeless?” is not). We don’t preach to them about religion or anything else. We don’t offer them alcohol. We don’t try to carry on a friendship outside the confines of the program—this year we are taking the women out to dinner on Wednesday so as not to disrupt the Lenten program at Trinity, but we’ll go in a group.
What will we talk about?
Maybe not much. The week’s program coordinators get to know them best, but sometimes the women are more shy of us than we are of them. We try to mix at dinner but we don’t push it, and if they quickly congregate to their own tables, they are our guests and welcome to do so. Sometimes one of the guests feels like talking, but if she doesn’t, don’t be hurt. Our job is just to make this a happy week, comfortable for them in any way they define comfort. We say grace before the meals, but we don’t preach. We try to show the love of Christ through how we treat them but we don’t talk about it uninvited.
Who are the women in Room In the Inn?
Well, they are from all walks of life. Some are college graduates; some are a little addled by life; some have lived on the streets a long time; some are mothers; some are battling addictions; some are newly homeless; some are grandmothers; some already have jobs and are saving for an apartment security deposit; all were once someone’s daughter, and all are in need of some temporary help.
Why are they in the program?
They are in the program because they have no home of their own or personal support system. The experts in the field tell us a lack of support is the primary cause of homelessness. At some critical moment for each of these women, there was no one to catch them when they fell financially, emotionally or mentally. Trinity and the other congregations are supporting them with food, shelter and safety until they can again find solid ground and permanent housing.