Category Archives: News

The Spirit of Thanksgiving

“It didn’t seem right to me that some people don’t have anywhere to go on Thanksgiving,” says Kathy. “We are all brothers and sisters in Christ. We all are and we need to be there for one another.”

This desire to live out the Gospel mandate to “love one another” is what inspired Kathy and her husband to invite Room at the Inn clients to their home this Thanksgiving. Kathy first learned about Room at the Inn through night site Saint Peters Catholic Church. While several clients were able to take a pass for the holiday and spend it with family, others had nowhere to go.  These are the people Kathy wanted to reach out to.

“It is such a blessing to me to have the clients over, especially the children,” explains Kathy. “I try to make everything special for them. I truly feel we are entertaining Christ and we receive so much more than we give on this day. I enjoy it so much.”

“The clients had such a wonderful time with Kathy,” adds Volunteer Coordinator Stephanie Turck, CDP. “They didn’t want to leave, but they had to be back to Room at the Inn by four o’clock so they could get ready to go the night site.”

Night sites Maryland Heights Church of Christ and Webster Groves Christian Church take turns each year hosting Thanksgiving and Christmas. This year, Maryland Heights Church of Christ welcomed clients to their congregation where volunteers planned an evening of fellowship.

“Volunteers prepared a Thanksgiving dinner and afterwards, they played games and spent time talking with the clients. We also had movies for those who just wanted to rest and relax,” says Katrina Parkinson, who has been the night site coordinator since May. “Volunteering at the night site really gives someone perspective on what is important in life.”

We thank Kathy, Katrina and all our wonderful volunteers for making Thanksgiving special for our clients.

“Empty Bowls” for Room at the Inn

In honor of Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, student members of the Community Action Team of McKendree University in Lebanon, Ill., hosted a special event to raise money and awareness for Room at the Inn.

On Wednesday, November 16, Volunteer Coordinator Stephanie Turck, CDP was invited by Rev. Dr. Tim Harrison, the chaplain and director of church relations at the college to speak at the “Empty Bowls” Brown Bag Luncheon held on campus. Students and faculty created beautiful ceramic bowls which could be purchased for $10, along with a plastic bowl of homemade potato soup, with the proceeds benefitting Room at the Inn.

“I thought this was a very creative way to raise money and awareness,” says Sister Stephanie, who purchased a bowl created by a faculty member. “It was inspiring to see the students and faculty joined together in their efforts, too.”

The “Empty Bowls” Brown Bag Luncheon was just one of several events during Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week held to engage the students in social ministry. Other activities on campus included a concert, a “hunger” banquet, an outdoor sleep-out in cardboard boxes and a winter coat drive held by Alpha Kappa Delta, a sociology-focused chapter society. Sister Stephanie was touched by seeing how interested the students were in her presentation and the issue of homelessness.

“They really wanted to learn about what we do at Room at the Inn and what internship possibilities there might be for them,” recalls Sister Stephanie. “I’m hoping we will get a couple students to practicum with us. They truly are a wonderful group at McKendree.”

The “Empty Bowls” Brown Bag Luncheon raised over a $1,000 for Room at the Inn.

Grant Helps Provides Services to Children

“Almost half of Room at the Inn’s clients are children, so the grant we receive from the St. Louis County Children’s Service Fund is vital to our program and the services we provide to children,” says Gil Weyhaupt, grant writer for Room at the Inn.

The mission of St. Louis County Children’s Service Fund is to improve the lives of children, youth, and families in St. Louis County by strategically investing in the creation and maintenance of an integrated system of care that delivers effective and quality mental health and substance abuse services. The fund is the result of the Putting Kids First initiative, which passed on November 4, 2008, with a resounding 62% of St. Louis County voters’ approval.

Audits of client files are made twice a year by St. Louis County Children’s Service Fund to make sure the funds are being used properly. Portfolio Manager Keisha Davis, MSW, works closely with Client Coordinator Angie Hamilton on the audits.

“I really enjoy working with Keisha. She gives wonderful advice and makes good suggestions every time she comes for the audit,” says Angie. “Recently, she gave me a risk assessment form that I now use to help gather client information on any past history of self-harm, suicide, violence or child abuse. I also attend excellent workshops through the St. Louis County Children’s Service Fund. They provide valuable information to the partnering agencies.”

These agencies (44 in all) collaborating together with the St. Louis County Children’s Service Fund represent a wonderful example of how a coalition influencing public policy can increase resources for children, youth, and families in St. Louis County. For more information on St. Louis County Children’s Service Fund, please visit their website at www.keepingkidsfirst.org.

Prayers for the Homeless 2011

To help raise awareness, Room at the Inn has asked nine pastors from our night sites to write a prayer for each day of Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, November 12-20, 2011.

In the spirit of thanks and giving, please take a moment each day this week to read and reflect on the prayers. We thank the pastors for writing the prayers and for reminding us all to pray for the homeless.


November 12, 2011

O God of Mercy:

We hear the persistent call to feed the hungry and find shelter for the homeless. Stir our hearts to move more deeply in our walk with Jesus.

Help us answer the question, “Why do we feel comfortable living beyond our needs when others do not have their basic needs met?”

Help us not be hypocrites of lip service but the disciples of action.

Keep our hearts soft enough to keep hearing the cry of the hungry and the homeless.

Amen.

~ Fr. Donald R. Wester, All Saints Parish

Fr. Donald R. Wester is the pastor at All Saints Parish in St. Peters, Mo. Founded in 1823, All Saints Parish is a welcoming community rooted in the gospel of Jesus, the Christ. Our journey of faith brings Christ’s presence to our parish, our community, and our world.


November 13, 2011

Dear God,

Watch over your children,

Especially those with no homes to return to at the end of long and weary days.

Protect them from all harm and keep them from despair.

Open the hearts and eyes of those of us with blessings to share.

Unite our voices in a call for justice:

So that no man need ever lay down for the night on a wooden park bench because he has no home;

So that no woman need ever tuck her children into the backseat of her car because she has no home;

So that no child need ever wonder, “Where will I feel safe?” because he has no home;

So that all those who wander and all who are in need, find the shelter and the peace they seek.

Remind us, O God, that we cannot rest fully secure in our homes each night until all your children are, at last, home.

Amen.

~ Rabbi Andrea Goldstein, Congregation Shaare Emeth

Rabbi Andrea Goldstein has been with Congregation Shaare Emeth in Creve Couer, Mo., since 1998. Congregation Shaare Emeth blends the tradition of a longstanding, multi generational synagogue with the innovativeness of bright, vibrant clergy and staff in a warm, welcoming environment.


November 14, 2011

Heavenly Father,

As we come before You again this day, we want to thank You for Your goodness and the love that You have shown to us. I thank You for your love and mercy that you extend to each of us. I want to pray for the homeless people in the St. Louis area and the people who have a heart for the homeless and dedicate their efforts to help those that are going through a hard time. Some are homeless by choice and others are homeless because of situations beyond their control. It makes no difference to You Lord, You love us all the same and no one is better than the other. Lord, You promised to supply our needs, and I am asking You to be mindful of people who don’t have a home of their own. Lord, would You make a way for them, would You supply people to help them in their struggles. Would You speak love into their hearts and encourage Your people to share the riches You have let them borrow for a time. Lord, only You know what each person needs and I am asking You to take care of Your people. In the name of Jesus, I pray. Thanking You for hearing and answering my prayers. Lord, let me not do less than what You would have me to do. I love You Lord, amen.

~ Pastor Paul Butler, Community Christ Fellowship Church of God

Pastor Paul Butler serves at Community Christ Fellowship Church of God in Hazelwood, Mo.


November 15, 2011

 

Holy One, Giver of blessings that nurture the earth and feed our bodies and souls,

We offer now our thanks for the abundance that surrounds us:

For the harvest of which we partake,
For the many hands that make light the work of helping our sisters and brothers,
For those who are in need, who gladden our hearts by allowing us to be of use.

With spirits raised by all this, we are so bold as to ask even more:

We pray for more caring hands,
For the equitable sharing of the riches of the harvest,
For more affordable housing,
For more people of faith willing to put their faith into action,
And for our lives to be constant prayers that all may be safe, warm, and loved.

So may it be.

~ Rev. Dr. David Keyes, Eliot Unitarian Chapel

Rev. Dr. David Keyes serves at Eliot Unitarian Chapel in Kirkwood, Mo. A Unitarian Universalist community, Eliot Chapel gathers to foster free religious thought, nurture spiritual growth and act for social justice.


November 16, 2011

 Dear Lord,

We reverence you as the God of mercy, grace and provision. We thank you for the strength you give us each day. Lord, we intercede for those that do not have shelter of their own. Lord, bless them with protection from the elements, bless them to have sufficiency of food and clothing, bless them with joy and peace of mind. We know you are able to protect your people and supply our every need. Deliver the homeless to have their own residence and to bless them with the security of your love and protection each day.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

~ Bishop Larry O. Jones, Greater Grace Church

Bishop Larry O. Jones is the founder of Greater Grace Church in North St. Louis County, Mo. Greater Grace Church’s mission is to change lives, transforming the world, one person at a time. They are a dynamic church that focuses on teaching people the path to grow in the Lord and to be the best they can be.


November 17, 2011

Dear God Almighty, Lord of hosts … we praise You today for Your overarching goodness and mercy, specifically and graciously located in Your Son and our Savior Christ Jesus.

Because of Him, we confidently believe that whether we live or die, we will be with You. On this particular day in which You have called us to live, we lift up to You those who are hungry and malnourished, as well as those who are without shelter. Lord, have mercy upon them. Use Your people to assist them in receiving exactly what they need today. And, in Your mercy, provide the means to sustain them with the necessities of life from this day
forward.

We are confident that You hear and will answer our prayer, for we lay it before You in the name of Jesus Christ.

Amen.

~ Pastor John Jameson, St. Mark’s Lutheran Church

Pastor John Jameson is the Lead Pastor of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Eureka, Mo. St. Mark’s Lutheran Ministry is a Christ-centered family working together to love God, love others, and make disciples of all people.


November 18, 2011

Merciful Heavenly Father,

Make your compassion known to those who are suffering from lack. Remember especially the young, aged, and otherwise vulnerable among them. We pray most of all that they would experience your love toward them and secondly that you be their protection and provision in time of need. Fill their hearts with the warmth of your hope and the light of your love.

Move on us, Lord, to be agents of your provision. Stir the hearts of the more fortunate among us with the knowledge that when we feed and clothe those in need, we are clothing and feeding Jesus (Mt 25:34-46).

Amen.

~ Bill Woodruff, Youth Pastor, Bethalto Church of God

Bill Woodruff is the Youth Pastor at Bethalto Church of God in Bethalto, Ill. Bethalto Church of God is a affiliated with the Church of God in Cleveland, Tenn., and has over eight million members worldwide.


November 19, 2011

Father, we ask you to open our eyes and be sensitive to your spirit. Help us to have the heart and mind of Christ. Teach us to be aware of the needs of your people.

Father, one person can make a differance and help us to be that one. When we feed and clothe your children, we are feeding and clothing Jesus. Bless all the ones who labor to make a difference in this world.

Most of all, we thank you, God, for caring and loving us and sending your son to die on the cross for each and everyone of us.

Amen.

~ Pastor Tim Naylor, House of Victory

Pastor Tim Naylor serves at the House of Victory in Cottage Hills, Ill. The House of Victory is a church with the desire to worship God, a love for Christ and his people and a vision to help and encourage the lost.


November 20, 2011

Shelter us, O Lord, and give us the compassion and knowledge to help others in their search for shelter.

Help us to be a compassionate presence to those who enter Room at the Inn.

Continue to bless us, O Lord, with night sites that make comfort and joy realities for our families and volunteers who radiate God’s love.

And, as Mother Teresa says: Each time people come into contact with us, they must become different and better people because of having met us.

Amen.

~ Stephanie Turck, CDP, Room at the Inn

Stephanie Turck, CDP, is the volunteer coordinator for Room at the Inn. As a member of the Divine Providence Community, she is dedicated to making God’s Providence more visible in the world.

Cards Memorabilia for a Cause

At our Breakfast with the INN Crowd event last April, the oral auction bidding for a signed Yadier Molina jersey quickly became a spirited challenge between two Cardinals fans!

In the end, Jim Patterson let the coveted collectable go to the other bidder, but not without regrets.

“After the auction was over, Jim told Breakfast co-chairAna Schulz, ‘if you can get another signed Molina jersey, I will match the price of the event’s winning bid,’” recalls Jim’s wife, Carol Patterson. “Ana said, ‘I’ll see what I can do!’”

Anaasked Room at theInn’s Volunteer Coordinator, Stephanie Turck, CDP, who secured the Molina jersey from the Cardinals organization, if she could obtain a second signed jersey from the beloved Cardinals catcher. The Cardinals representative explained to Sister Stephanie that the Cardinals only offer one signed item to an organization per calendar year. However, the Cardinals representative, also a Room donor, had a signed jersey belonging to another player in her possession that she thought Jim might be interested in.

“At a previous Breakfast, the Cardinals representative was present and entered the winning bid on a signed Albert Pujols jersey,” says Sister Stephanie. “The Cardinals representative thought about it and decided she wanted to donate it back to Room at the Inn since all the proceeds from the Breakfast benefit the shelter. The only question was … would Jim take a signed Pujols’ jersey instead of a Molina jersey?”

The answer was a resounding “yes!”

“Jim was overjoyed to have a signed Pujols jersey, and he’s even more excited now that the Cardinals won the World Series,” says Carol. “He’s already got a Stan Musial jersey, and knows one day Albert Pujols will join Stan “The Man” in the Hall of Fame. It’s a great piece of Cards memorabilia for a great cause – Room at theInn!”

Jim and Carol’s connection with the Sisters of Divine Providence began when their children, Amy and Michael, started attending St. Elizabeth Catholic School inGranite City,Ill., where many of the Sisters taught. They also became Associates of the Divine Providence Community and enjoy supporting the Sisters through their sponsored ministry, Room at theInn.

If you would like to be involved in or attend our next Breakfast with the Inn Crowd on April 20, 2012, please visit our website at https://roomstl.org/events.php for details. We will have more Cardinals-themed items for auction as well as many other wonderful items. We hope to see you there!

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