The MacCanon Brown Homeless Sanctuary has more work than it can manage, and it’s looking for more volunteers.
The sanctuary’s Doorway Ministry previously served an average of 30 to 50 households each time it opened, but it has been juggling from 120 to 150 since the pandemic hit. And the need keeps rising, according to Sister MacCanon Brown, the organization’s president.
Because it is serving more households in the middle of a pandemic, Brown said she needs more volunteers.
“We have an average of 15 volunteers handling donation intake, organizing, distributing, and trying to give personal attention to each person that comes through our door,” Brown said.
The Doorway Ministry primarily receives and distributes food donations. But it also gets basic hygiene products and clothing. It has been a large distributor of masks throughout the pandemic as well.
The Doorway Ministry has taken place at the sanctuary at 2461 W. Center St. since 2016 and continues every Tuesday. It has recently added a weekly distribution location at Hephatha Lutheran Church, 1720 W. Locust St., to keep people from standing outside in the cold. That site is open Thursdays. Both sites are open from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Volunteers do everything from accepting donations to distributing them to those in need.
“The church has been closed completely since the beginning of the pandemic,” Brown said. “It was a blessing that they were willing to open so that we could give people a small break from the elements when they need us.”
Brown, the founder of the shelter, has been serving those facing homelessness for the past 28 years, and she said the work is essential.
“This is a lot of work,” she said. “But the over 100 people that stand in line for over an hour proves that it needs to happen.”
Brown said any help is welcome, regardless of how long you can help or how many times you can come. COVID-19 safety measures are always in place, she said.
To find out how to volunteer, click here.