Resources

Resources

Ideas on how to… Support the local shelter

  1. Ensure that the pastoral team has up-to-date contact information on the local shelter and that the local shelter has up-to-date contact information on the pastoral team of the congregation;
  2. Once a year, invite the executive director of the local shelter to make a short presentation (5-7 minutes) during the regularly scheduled Sunday morning service. Provide an opportunity for those who are interested to make a financial donation;
  3. Plan an event in your church where several local community-based agencies (including the shelter for battered women) have information tables for members of the congregation to visit;
  4. Encourage those responsible for preparing the annual church budget to include a line item for the local shelter. {Some congregations invite local community-based agencies to prepare an annual request for funds to be followed by a yearly report from each agency receiving those funds.}
  5. Invite any residents who are interested to a special women’s event at the church. Events occurring during the holiday season (like Thanksgiving Dinner) are often received with greater enthusiasm;
  6. Form a committee (of two or three persons) to liaise with the local shelter in terms of identifying needs that their local congregation might attempt to meet;
  7. Place information about the local shelter in the women’s washroom;
  8. When called upon to do so, speak out against government funding cuts to the women’s shelter;
  9. Encourage women in your congregation who are especially interested in supporting the transition house movement to attend any training opportunities offered by the local shelter;
  10. Ask the shelter to provide information about dating violence to distribute to members of the congregation’s youth groups.

Here are some very interesting ideas on supporting the local shelter put into practice by specific congregations (these ideas emerged through our fieldwork):

  • A Sunday School class that took new book-bags and school supplies to each child living in the shelter (just before the beginning of the school year);
  • A women’s Bible Study group that ensured that there were special food treats delivered to the shelter on Valentine’s Day;
  • A men’s group that volunteered their pick-up trucks one Saturday morning a month for residents moving from the shelter to either second stage housing or their own apartment;
  • A group of volunteers who painted several rooms at the shelter every Spring;
  • A quilting circle that donated a small quilt to every child who sought refuge at the local shelter;
  • A banquet held by the women of the congregation just before Christmas with a focus on Mary, the mother of Jesus, as a single parent;
  • A Sunday evening panel at church on community outreach where the Shelter Director outlined the shelter’s most pressing needs;
  • A women’s “morning out” at the church where there was transportation provided to any woman resident of the shelter wishing to attend;
  • Regular donations of food items to the shelter, in accordance with the shelter’s needs and food policies;
  • Specially prepared comfort kits (uniquely created bags with a selection of toiletry items) by a women’s group for women in the shelter.