How First Pres has helped those experiencing homelessness in Harrisonburg
Written by Communications Team

As the Open Doors outreach to homeless people in our community begins a new phase soon, we want to recognize those from First Pres who have helped during the past 15 years.

Over the past 15 years or so, First Pres has served as one of the shelter locations for Harrisonburg’s Open Doors during the thermal season (November – March). Our guests were sheltered in Showker Hall overnight and provided dinner and a “grab-and-go” breakfast while staying here for periods of one to two weeks. Over these years, we have had faithful teams serve year after year preparing, serving and cleaning up these meals and interacting with the guests. Our shelter accommodated 40 adults (30 men and 10 women) per night. The Open Doors staff provides the supervision, regulates the process and stays in the church overnight. Guests have entry at 6:30 p.m. and are served their meal at 7 p.m. They leave the church at 7 a.m. the next morning.

During COVID, the shelter was located in the former Red Front Supermarket, and First Pres had teams that prepared and delivered meals to that location. We completed our hosting at the church in January 2024 with a successful two-week experience. Thank you to all who contributed to this important work.

Beginning in the fall of 2024, thanks be to God, a new permanent shelter will be complete and our calling then will be to provide meals for Open Doors. We will be selecting the weeks to serve. This has been a labor of love for those who have participated in the Open Doors experience. We look forward to providing meals for and letting our neighbors know that our covenant partners will be ready to serve by being the hands and feet of Jesus.

The elders, staff, Local Missions Committee, and congregation are deeply grateful for the dedicated leadership over these many years of Mary Scott and Pat Haden, who tirelessly coordinated, supported, and resourced all the nightly teams. Thank you!