By Bobbie Schilling
This time of the year brings us many winter holidays involving many cherished traditions: candles, music, special foods, decorations, and gift giving. One tradition that members and friends of the UUFP have upheld for many years is service to the PORT Winter Homeless Shelter which is organized by LINK (Living Interfaith Network) of Hampton Roads, Inc
PORT stands for People Offering Resources Together and is supported by churches throughout Hampton Roads. Site churches and partner churches work together to offer a place to sleep and meals (dinner and breakfast) to those who might otherwise be out on the streets during the cold months of November through March. Many of these clients are working members of our community, and some are women with small children.
This winter the UUFP will be a partner church with First Baptist Church Newport News on Sunday evening, January 6, through Monday morning, January 7.
We provide volunteers to check in clients, hand out bedding, cook and serve dinner/breakfast, and clean up the kitchen. Donna Sprock organizes and oversees the preparation of nutritious and delicious meals. Volunteers are welcome to share a meal with us, too. A few hearty volunteers spend the night. We offer a hot breakfast early in the morning (4:30 a.m.) as many clients board a van at 5:15 a.m. to go to work. Brown bag breakfasts are also prepared for clients to take with them in the morning.
If you are interested in learning more about PORT, there will be a brief informational meeting immediately after the second service on Sunday, December 16, in the sanctuary. Contact either Bobbie Schilling or Henry Chambers (in person or via firstname.lastname@example.org) with any questions or if you are willing to volunteer for a three or four-hour shift. Donations of money to buy the food or of new underwear and socks for the clients are greatly appreciated. This is an excellent way to assist if you are unable to volunteer your time. There will be a labeled donation basket for the underwear located near the Social Justice table outside the sanctuary doors. Monetary donations designated for PORT may be placed in the collection baskets Sunday morning. We welcome all who wish to help!
Our second night of service to PORT will be in March (around the 10th, but exact date to be determined later) at Warwick Memorial United Methodist Church.
Please help us keep the tradition of service to PORT alive at the UUFP. In enriching the lives of those in need and that of our larger community, we find our own lives enriched, as well!