Volunteer response to The Room at the Inn closure
The Room at the Inn shelter is closing today as planned at the Wilkes Boulevard United Methodist Church after housing the homeless since January. Volunteers worked at the Wilkes Boulevard United Methodist today to organize and distribute leftover supplies, such as pre-packaged food, clothing, and sleeping bags to various Columbia agencies. Recipient agencies include the Russell Chapel Food Pantry, True North Women’s Shelter, Love Inc., the Day Center, and the Harbor House.
Despite its closure, volunteers are trying to open a center tonight at the Broadway Christian Church and shelter the homeless for about a week due to the cold weather.
Room at the Inn Manager Jim Jantz says more church group involvement could potentially proliferate the duration of the program: “It’d be wonderful if some of these big churches in town would take a week and staff it with volunteers from their own church. We are tired of looking for volunteers and if more churches stepped up, we could expand more weeks.”
Room at the Inn Coordinator Janet Schisser says there have been 10 partnering churches and nine others that hosted the program for a specific time period. However, there were three weeks in January that were not utilized since the program was lacking a location to house guests.
Schisser also says Columbia Interfaith Center volunteers will meet soon to discuss how to improve the program and decide which church will house the homeless next year. She says First Presbyterian and Fairview Christian Church have recently expressed interest in hosting the program.