They say you should “count your blessings.” We tried, but realized Room at the Inn is often showered with so many blessings, that they are hard to count.
We pulled the top reasons why we feel blessed and grateful for every day at Room at the Inn. However, we cannot quite encompass the amount of gratitude we feel toward all of you, so we will try the best we can to say thank you to:
Our staff: For their hard work and dedication to making the lives of our clients better every day. Our shelter’s mission and programs could not be carried out without all of your efforts.
Our donors and grantors: You have given us the financial resources that allow us to give our clients the best service we can offer. Your support is the backbone of our programs, and your generosity to see our mission continue is unmatchable.
Our Board of Directors: For steering this organization in all the right directions. Each step of the way in this long journey, you have believed in Room at the Inn and the power we have to serve and improve our community.
Our volunteers: From helping clients with resumes, feeding and clothing them, to offering them a smile and an attentive ear, you’ve care for our clients like one of your own. We are blessed to have the most compassionate and caring individuals giving of themselves to the service of others. You are our rock.
Our Night Sites: You are the cornerstone of our program. You’ve collectively and graciously opened the doors of your faith communities and your hearts for the less fortunate. You give us, and them, a reason to believe in the power of faith, unity and humanity.
Finally, to all and each of you reading this newsletter, whether you have volunteered, served or donated to Room at the Inn, we want to thank you for being part of this wonderful family which seeks to provide the homeless in our community a purpose and a future.
We could spend all day counting our blessings.
Thank you and have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving Day.
2014 Annual Appeal
“One night, when I didn’t have any place to go, I ended up at a gas station lot on North Broadway and I-70. I pulled up to the pump and parked there while tears rolled down my face. I had nowhere to stay.” Felicia was very frank with us.
Many people will never know what it is like to sleep inside a parked car in the lot of a lonely gas station. It is difficult for most of us to comprehend, or to be aware of the many individuals who are doing everything they can to stay on their feet…to understand how, when homelessness strikes, they find themselves lost and without a sense of direction.
Such is the story of Felicia, one of the most recent clients served by Room at the Inn.
Felicia came to Room at the Inn, reluctantly, after all her resources ran out. She is a determined and responsible individual who, in spite of working seven days a week, could not make enough money to afford her rent.
“Before I came to Room at the Inn, my life was unstable,” recalls Felicia in a ‘Thank You’ letter she recently wrote to the shelter’s staff. “Even though I had a car and a job, I was homeless. I was working seven days a week and wasn’t bringing in much at all. I drove around all the time visiting family and friends just to pass the evening away.”
Felicia says she felt she hit rock bottom when she ran out of places to stay.
She tried spending nights with her mom, who lives in a senior citizen center. “It was my only hope,” she said.
But when the staff at the senior citizen building found out Felicia was staying there, she had to leave.
At that point, there was only one option left for Felicia: to call the St. Louis County Homeless Hotline.
Little did she know that when she picked up the phone her life would drastically change for the better.
“I prayed and prayed that God would help me. I had thought about going to the shelter, but many years ago, while raising my children, I had a horrible experience with one. So I waited until I couldn’t wait anymore to call the hotline.”
Felicia was brought to our shelter, where Client Coordinator Angie Hamilton helped Felicia get connected to different agencies that could help her. In the meantime, Felicia spent her nights at the different congregations which participate in the Room at the Inn Night Site network.
It was at one of those Night Sites where Felicia’s prayers for a miracle happened.
“… one of the night site volunteers found a place for me to live,” Felicia writes. “These people of God even paid for me to move in. My eyes are watery as I write this letter (Tears of Joy.) I moved in without having to pay a dime.”
Now living on her own, Felicia rejoices at this small but powerful miracle that was made possible by the many generous hands that participate in Room’s program.
“My stay at Room at the Inn was wonderful. It was nothing like I thought it would be. We slept and ate dinner and breakfast at different congregations. There was always someone there to encourage me. Through Room at the Inn, I found not only a place to live, but my place in life. Thank you Lord. And thanks to Angela and to all the staff and Sisters at Room at the Inn for your compassion.”
It is easy for us to forget to give thanks and sing praises of gratitude for even the smallest of gifts in life. I know you join with Felicia, as I do, in giving thanks for allowing us to bless her.
We want to thank YOU, as one of our partners, for making Felicia’s story possible. As we move into fall and begin plans for family gatherings to give thanks for our many blessings, we invite you to help us continue to spread God’s Providence, to share miracles and make profound ripples of hope in the lives of the less fortunate.
If you have time to give, become a volunteer. If you believe that God’s Providence is all around us, please pray for this ministry and those who find themselves homeless. The power of our collective action can and will make a difference.
May peace be with you,
Valorie L. Ferlis
Room at the Inn
Robyn Weilbacher has served as a Room at the Inn volunteer for several years through her congregation, Shaare Emeth.
But it wasn’t until the spring of last year, while volunteering for Room, that Weilbacher realized one of her true life-callings.
“I met some of the female clients at my temple and I just asked them, ‘What can I do for you?’ said Weilbacher, who is a speech language therapist. “They said, ‘We need help finding jobs.'”
Weilbacher took to her computer, did hours of research, and realized she could teach clients valuable tools on how to write resumes and find jobs.
“I don’t have any professional, resume-building experience,” Weilbacher explained. “I just had done it for somebody before and thought, ‘I could help out.'”
Earlier this month, Weilbacher completed her 100th resume with Room at the Inn clients.
“How do I keep going? I believe in them,” Weilbacher said. “I feel like I’ve found my calling this past year. I feel like everyone deserves to have a good job. Not just a job but a good job. They deserve to have a good life.”
Weilbacher said many of Room at the Inn clients have the experience and skills necessary to find decent jobs, but have not realized it themselves.
Weilbacher recalls how, last summer, one client shouted in disbelief after completing her resume.
“All she said was, ‘Is that me? That’s me!” Weilbacher remembers. “I think so many people have had such bad luck. They feel frustrated and they feel down about themselves. Everyone deserves a chance to have a good life and a good job. They do have experience, and they are good people. But their lives are so torn apart by the time they are in a homeless shelter that they just give up and don’t value themselves. I try to inspire them and make them realize they are worth it.”
But it was not only Weilbacher who made an impact on Room at the Inn clients. Weilbacher said Room at the Inn has also changed her.
“Room completes me,” she said. “Never in my entire life have I experienced anything like this. I’ve volunteered before, but this summer, while I was taking a break, I felt something had been missing from my life. As soon as I returned and started talking to the clients again, I was almost in tears. I was so happy. I felt like I was home.”
The staff of Room at the Inn wish to extend a sincere congratulations and thanks to Robyn Weilbacher for everything she has done for our clients. You have truly given our clients – as our motto says – a future and a purpose.
May God bless you.
Interested in volunteering?
Room at the Inn is currently seeking tutors and child-care volunteers. To find out more and to match your skills and time availability to the shelter’s needs, please contact Volunteer Coordinator Melanie Matthew at 314-209-9191, or via email at email@example.com.