Winter Weekend Day Shelter

Through presence ministry, you can bring joy and love to marginalized people in our community.

In Just 4 hours You Can…

Impact a Life

In our Winter Weekend Day Shelter (WWDS) we invite volunteers inside to experience a unique opportunity to connect with guests. Through games and activities or just showing up to chat, volunteers show guests they are loved. We call this Presence Ministry and it’s an important way we build community.

 

Many of our former guests say that it was the genuine love and care they experienced from staff and volunteers that broke through and helped them connect with God.

 

Volunteers often return after falling in love with presence ministry and the chance they have to engage more deeply with the guests we know and love. 

How to Get Involved

Details and More

What is an ACE Volunteer?

WWDS volunteers – called ACE volunteers (Accept. Connect. Encourage.) – invest themselves in the lives of our guests through the ministry of active presence. These volunteers are energetic initiators of conversation and activities, willing to joyfully “jump right in” and connect with our guests.

Activity Ideas

We have board games and conversation cards available for use during WWDS, but we want to encourage you to be creative and come up with an activity that brings people together (i.e., a craft, cornhole game, adult coloring books, a pre-approved movie, etc.).

You can find more ideas here. All ideas must be pre-approved by our volunteer staff. 

Time Commitment

Serve one 4-hour shift, or go all in and adopt multiple shifts with your small group, family, or friends.

Shifts are available on Saturdays & Sundays from November through March:

AM: 7:45am-11:45am

PM: 12:45pm-4:45pm

WWDS Volunteer Questions & Information

WWDS@wsm.org

717.393.7709

 General Volunteer Questions & Information

WSM Volunteer Office

volunteer@wsm.org

717.393.7709

The "Crazy Bunch"

This group, who call themselves the “Crazy Bunch,” bring bingo to WWDS once a month. It’s become a wonderful highlight over the winter and guests look forward to their joyful presence! ​

Important Details

  • No special skills are needed, but we do ask that volunteers are excited to initiate conversation and activities with our guests.
  • Orientation materials will be provided to you.
  • A staff member will be on location at all times.
  • Individuals must be 18+ to be an ACE volunteer.
  • Recommended group size is 2-10 adult volunteers.
  • Individuals fulfilling court-ordered community service hours are not eligible to volunteer for WWDS.

Next Steps

Here's how you can begin

For Individuals

Sign up for a weekend slot by clicking the VolunteerHub button below.

 

  • If you already have a WSM volunteer account, you will be prompted to sign in to view open shifts and register to serve.
  • If you do not have a WSM volunteer account, you will be invited to create an account and register for a new volunteer orientation.

For Groups:

Contact the volunteer office to reserve a date for your group and talk about next steps. Email us at wwds@wsm.org, or call us at (717)393-7709, option 4.

 

Other questions?

If you have any questions or wish to an adopt a weekend with a group, please contact wwds@wsm.org or (717)393-7709, option 4.

 

An Update from Jack 5/4/2020

12/17/2020

Dear Friends,

Throughout this season, we have encountered a number of challenges in operating our shelter safely. Thankfully we have been blessed to see no community spread among our guests. This is due not only to the work of our team, but also the ways that upgrades to our facilities came at just the right time.

For example, Providence Shelter, which opened in November 2019, provides additional spacing and a top-tier air filtration system. We have also been able to implement the same air filtration standards in our dining hall prior to the most recent wave of COVID.

Because a high percentage of our guests have preexisting health conditions, we have had to be diligent in our safety protocols, doing our best to ensure their safety. For us that has included implanting all CDC disinfecting, masking and social distancing from the very beginning. This has led to major changes in roles and responsibilities of staff. Staff have taken over disinfecting in shifts all over campus. They have also delivered much of our support services and programs through zoom, hosting counseling sessions and classes virtually and meeting in-person with plexi-glass dividers only when necessary.

For meals, we’ve changed preparation and delivery to help minimize interaction of guests who live in different facilities. At times that has meant delivering meals to certain Residential Floors so we can keep smaller groups in the dining hall. We have also had to restrict guests’ travel on and off campus to only essential trips such as going to work, the doctors, shopping etc., in order to minimize unnecessary exposure.

Another change in this season has been how we do intakes. Currently, the intake process requires new guests to be tested for COVID-19. They await their test results in a separate temporary shelter we have set up, before entering Providence Emergency Shelter.

All of these changes have been made while severely limiting the number of volunteers on campus. At one point, all volunteering was completely put on hold. Now, we are running with a third of our normal volunteers.

And it’s been tiring, for both staff and guests. We have had times where many staff were working remotely due to their own health risks. Other times where staff or guests have been quarantined due to exposures. But even with all of the schedule changes, increased overtime, and cross-shift working, our team has done an amazing job persevering through all of the challenges.

What to Expect This Winter Typically we have over 200 total guests on campus, over 100 in our Residential Programs over and 100 in our Emergency Shelters. Although our Residential capacity remains about the same, we have had to reduce the available beds in Providence Shelter to ensure safe spacing overnight from about 75 to 55.

Winter always presents its own challenges, so we anticipate this year will be no different. Women in our Providence Shelter have moved over to the shelter at St. Mary’s across the street, run by the Lancaster Food Hub. During their stay there they have full access to all of our services, including showers, food and staff support. Not only does having women shift to St. Mary’s enable us to free up additional beds for men, it will help us keep the shelter populations separate and limit the risk of spread.

Thank You We have been so encouraged by the support we have received this year. Without a community coming around us and our guests, we would not be able to keep our guests safe and continue to guide them in their restoration journeys. We truly couldn’t do what we do without you.

Jack Crowley

President