|The Room in the Inn Program has over a 20-year history at Temple Ohabai Sholom. We were one of the original four founding Congregations. For many years, we have successfully housed men. Then in 2004, it was brought to the attention of the Social Action Committee that there was a great need for bed space for women.|
In the fall of 2004, we expanded our commitment to the Campus for Human Development, (recipient of funds from the Boulevard Bolt) to provide services to women during the first half of the season. We had been successfully sharing the Room in the Inn program with West End Synagogue for the seasons prior.
During that initial trial period, we became more familiar with the needs of the homeless women and chose to continue that program for the full year. The experience has been very rewarding. The program runs on Monday nights from the first of November until the last Monday of March (six months).
Who are the women we serve? The women are all unique individuals, but many have similar issues. Some made poor choices. Most of these women did the best that they could do with limited resources. Some were working steadily until a health issue curtailed that ability, depression followed, and then a downward spiral into homelessness.
We have had the privilege of helping one women have a safe place to sleep, while she attending computer skills training at the Campus during the day. This hardworking woman graduated and moved on to a successful job and safe housing.
Another guest spent nights at Room in the Inn for an entire winter after becoming homeless, following the death of her adult daughter from an uninsured fight with cancer, and then the temporary loss of custody of her grandson. Her days were spent working at one of the local private schools. By being part of the Room in the Inn program, she was able to save enough money for deposits for housing for herself and her grandchild.
What does this program serve? We provide a safe place where the women may eat a decent meal in a family setting with people that care about their good and welfare. The women have a good meal, conversation with members of the congregation and their children, and experience open conversation without judgment. The women then are provided a safe place to sleep, without concern about being attacked during the night as they might be on the street. They are able to arise in the morning rested and able to go about their day.
Members of the Congregation are committed to this program! Individuals who have come to volunteer for this program have universally wanted to come back and do more! It is interesting and rewarding to participate in such a successful program and actually feel that you are making a difference in people’s lives, one person at a time.
Save One, Save the World. Volunteer opportunities! Dinner Preparation: Congregants prepare a dinner for approximately 10 women guests and themselves. Dinners generally include: Soup or Salad, Main Course with vegetables, desert of some type. If you would like to participate, please contact Glenda Kraft at (615) 646-1271, or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Overnight volunteers: Congregants generally arrive after dinner, although some come before, to spend the night at the Temple. They bring sleeping bags, pillows, or other items to make the night more pleasant. They interact with the women guests, monitor the situation, and turn lights out at 10 pm. The overnight volunteers prepare the lunches (if not done by another Temple program, such as the Religious School) as well as breakfast (cereal, fruit, juice, coffee, and milk). They awaken the women guests at 5 am for breakfast and to be picked up by the shuttle back to the Campus at 5:30 am. Normally, the overnight volunteers are in pairs or they are a family. It is a great joy to spend the time with these guests.