Working through a contract that the cathedral has made with the FreestoreFoodbank, the outreach worker coordinates services and provide support for those seeking assistance and those wishing to volunteer to help. Volunteer friends are a key component of this program.
Volunteer friends are those who desire greater involvement in assisting those who are homeless or otherwise in need. Volunteer friends help those in need secure the necessary personal identification, such as birth certificates or driver's licenses, that is a prerequisite for qualifying for government assistance, subsidized housing and employment. They schedule appointments with the outreach worker for those who need more assistance.Cathedral clergy work with the volunteers to help them understand and nurture the spiritual base for serving those whose lives are deeply troubled.
If you are interested in learning more or in becoming a volunteer friend, contact Chris Williams.
The Volunteer Friend Difference
A woman guest at a recent 5000 Club community supper pulled Linda Gossman aside. She needed to get away from the father of her children … right way. Linda immediately told the part time outreach worker who works with the 5000 Club's homeless assistance program. He was able to secure a place in a shelter for victims of domestic violence that very night. Such quick action can be life changing - at least that is Linda's hope.
Most assistance offered to the guests of Christ Church Cathedral's Tuesday meals does not play out so dramatically. But every bit helps the guests move their lives forward in a positive direction, thanks to volunteer friends and the homeless assistance program, a collaborative effort between the cathedral and the FreeStore FoodBank.
Linda Gossman is one of the ministry's volunteer friends. She came to the cathedral about a year ago and never left.
"One thing that drew me to the church was the opportunities to volunteer," she said. She went to a 5000 Club dinner to see how she could help. Chris Williams, the volunteer friend coordinator, was going from table to table, asking guests about their needs. Linda followed him around and, as she says, "I fell in love with the work."
"If there are adventurous people in the congregation, there is a need (for more volunteer friends)," says Libby Middleton, who has been a volunteer friend since the program's inception two years ago.
"I hope we are doing good," she adds, thinking of the guests she has helped. "We just have to have faith that we are."