Saving and Changing Lives
The Aurora Community of Faith (ACOF) is working to bridge “The Gap” between what the City has and what the City needs as regards cold weather homeless shelters when the weather is fatally cold. Our City has limited options and resources, and those become exhausted very quickly, often leaving people to die on the streets.
Winter Gap Services is not a program that can be successful with any one church, denomination, organization, or city department. This truly is an effort that will be most successful if all the churches in our city join forces to make a difference.
We have seen how this same program has had success in other local cities, and we know that your participation would make all the difference.
Gap Services target two sets of people.
1) People who do not make sense for the currently available shelter options, like families with children to young to go inside.
2) People who remain in need after all the hotel vouchers are spent and all the shelters are full.
Why should you host?
Not only could you literally save lives, but this will give you a very real opportunity it serve and love on people who need it the most.
The goal is not to just offer some charity service. We want to connect you with the chance to make new friends and represent Gods love.
Become a host today
If you will open your doors, you will have an opportunity to save lives and engage with people relationally in a way that could make a real difference.
What is needed to host?
You could help by committing to meet some or especially all of these needs. If you are only able to do some of these things, that is enough to help us save lives and to give you an opportunity to make new friends in your church.
We will start with what is required at minimum, and then move on to discuss what extra services or options you could provide to make the biggest impact.
Choose a time frame of availability
Gap Services are activated when the temperatures drop to 10 degrees or lower, or during weather emergencies. We are looking for hosts to take blocks of time and rotate availability with other churches in our area.
Churches may choose a block of availability but would only be activated when the weather dictates during your selected block of time. We encourage you to consider at least one week long block of availability, but ACOF is very flexible.
For example, we have one church that is available one day each week all year long. ACOF will take whatever we can get.
The space can be classrooms, hallways, or large rooms, especially if dividers are available.
The minimum number of volunteers is 1-2. Volunteers must be ready to come in during what will be inclement weather, and be prepared to stay for whatever hours or shifts to host for the activated time frame, which will probably include overnights.
You will also have to consider setting up before, and cleaning up after services.
Remember, one primary motivator for providing this service is that you will have an opportunity to engage in relationship with people you might have never met otherwise. So you will want volunteers who are available for social engagement as the guests allow.
To prepare and serve meals.
For your guests either before activation from designated pick up points, or after services are over so your guests can get dropped off at a helpful location.
Volunteers who can prepare and serve meals. Food may be available for donation from partnering food banks. However, if you have a food bank or other resources for providing meals, it would be very helpful.
Laundry and Cots
Cots and blankets will be provided as availability allows. However, we could always use some help getting them from storage and returning them afterwards.
To learn more about the Gap Service Initiative, what ACOF can provide, what we are looking for, and to talk about how you might be able to help, please contact Pastor CJ Counts using any of the contact information at the link below.
These services are new and still growing. The link below will show you what is currently available. Each available site offers a varying range of services and time slots. Each site has its own primary point of contact.
If you want to take shelter at a site, or bring a friend to a site, please check the calendar at the link below. Click on the location during the time slot you are interested in, review the details carefully, and contact the point person for that site to let them know you are coming.
Please keep checking back for availability, as we will be constantly adding new sites and services per site. There may be something new posted each time you check, so please do not forget about these services if you do not see something helpful right now.
Sign Up Your Facility
To enroll your church, please fill out the form below. Once completed, we will be in touch to discuss your next steps.