Feature Photo by Rebecca Kiger
On Thursday night, March 19, a crowd of people celebrated another season of the Winter Freeze Shelter in Wheeling. Over 100 people came out to share soup, salad, and to meet each other at Youth Services System’s Soup Social at River City. They are part of an effort that includes hundreds of supporters to help homeless adults through the winter.
“We are blessed in this valley with a great number of caring people” John Moses CEO of Youth Services System said, “and this is a simple way of thanking those who have helped. When the Winter Freeze Shelter opened on November 18, nearly a month early, the Soup Kitchen’s Becky Shilling-Rodocker answered a call for food for that night. Through the winter, Wheeling Linen has laundered our bed clothes, more than 10,000 of them. So we are thankful for all of this support.”
Among those attending were volunteers who spent the night like Kathy Blazier and Bill Falduto. Others like Sandy Pell of the Soroptimists and Lloyd and Margaret Walker made donations for nightly meals. Still others like Robert McCoid and Virginia Shelhammer played multiple roles as donors, helpers, and volunteers.
“By opening on November 18, we had warm beds, food, and fellowship available for 118 days this winter. We saw 165 different guests during that time, including 42 women. All of this surpasses our experience in previous years,” Moses adds.
Those attending the event had a choice of soups donated by Quaker Steak and Lube, River City Ale Works, Ye Olde Alpha, and YSS’ Ronald C. Mulholland Juvenile Center.
Answering the needs of those who are homeless was the topic for the event’s program. Rhonda Lindsey, deputy director for the Clarksburg Housing Authority and Chris Mullet, executive director of the Clarksburg Mission shared the story of their participation in the national 100,000 Homes campaign to help house homeless people. Greg Smith, a member of Christ United Methodist Church, and Ed Nolan, Northwood Health Systems, shared their experiences in participating with the Winter Freeze Shelter this year.