FROM THE DIRECTOR OF THE OPEN SHELTER………………………………………Kent R. Beittel
This Holiday Season is a time of remembering, indulging and celebrating for many of us. Many of us remember the patterns of our lives in this season which have become the traditions of the season. And they sustain us. Many of us indulge in the bounty of the season. Sharing that bounty with those close to us has become part of the tradition of the season. Many of us celebrate the deepest meaning of the season and the opportunity to share that celebration with those close to us as part of the tradition of the season. That confirms how blessed we are.
But for some of us, this Holiday Season is a time of remembering, struggling and grieving – often bitter and alone. Some of us are stuck, perpetually remembering and reliving the chaos of our current lives, which makes this season at least as depressing, hurtful and frightening as any other recent season. Some of us are struggling to keep body and soul together, to keep hope alive or to find reasons to keep trying in the face of what seems to be insurmountable odds. Some of us are grieving, overwhelmed with the losses and burdens which have got us feeling marginalized and alone.
For many of us, the Holidays are manifestations of the love we have for family and gratitude for the faith which sustains us.
For some of us, the Holidays are hurtful reminders of how alone and marginalized we feel.
For all of us, the Holidays are only celebrations if we share them with people who care about us and about whom we care.
The Open Shelter provides an opportunity for YOU to show our most vulnerable neighbors that they are remembered and cared about. YOU have the opportunity to show them that they are not alone. YOU have the opportunity to declare that a stable community is an inclusive community in which we all have access to the resources which improve our lives. By selecting The Open Shelter as a conduit for YOUR concern and generosity, YOU provide an ally to the thousands of homeless and marginally housed persons who desperately need someone to stand beside them as they struggle to survive and stabilize.
For 35 years, The Open Shelter has been and remains committed to staying behind with those who feel left behind. Our main concern has been and remains providing immediate survival needs for those forced to live outside and the resources and referrals which enable them to stabilize their life situation. Our approach is to offer the long-term relationships which provide a “natural” support system for the long haul, standing behind the person “on the street”, getting “off the street” and struggling to stay “off the street” and all the stages in between.
This is a service delivery style which is quite unique in this community’s Continuum of Care. The Open Shelter does not limit participation in our services to a particular life situation (“on the streets”, in treatment or marginally housed) or a particular “presenting problem” (alcohol or drug addiction, mental health concerns or recent incarceration). Our services are offered to all who feel the need of an ally while they struggle to survive their homelessness, end their homelessness or prevent becoming homeless. YOU make it possible for The Open Shelter to stand behind them in that struggle.
Because of my age, fight with cancer and the death of my wife and partner last year, The Open Shelter is going through changes in staffing. But our intent, style and commitment remains the same. CHANGE AND SAMENESS is our Holiday Offering to our most vulnerable neighbors and our Holiday Promise to YOU, in gratitude to YOU and the many members of this community who have stood beside us for 35 years.
Our Holiday Prayer is that YOU continue to find us a meaningful conduit for YOUR compassion and generosity. I hope that YOU feel blessed this Holiday Season and recognize YOUR ability to bless others.
Yours In Service,
Kent R. Beittel, Director & Half of YOUR Executive Team