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F3 Going Strong at Men’s Shelter of Charlotte

Jordan, bottom left, doing those push-ups!

This year, longtime volunteer, Jordan Abshire, launched a weekly boot-camp workout at Men’s Shelter of Charlotte in partnership with F3 Nation (Fitness, Faith and Fellowship). The workout was aptly named Fortitude.

Jordan viewed the workout as another vehicle to bring a sense of normalcy to guests in a time of disruption in their lives. He connected with John Lambert, who had started a similar F3 workout at Charlotte Rescue Mission…and the rest is history! Click here to read John’s account of the inaugural Fortitude workout.

Jordan recently noticed something different about the participating guests; an unmistakable new light in their eyes, an energy, and a bounce in their step. Executive Director, Liz Clasen-Kelly, recognized what he was describing and explained: “That Light you saw was Hope.”

Clear to Jordan was that the goal of the F3 Fortitude workouts was being met when one guest thanked an F3 member after his first workout for “making him feel normal for a little while.”

Join us any Tuesday at 5:30 am at our Tryon Campus (1210 North Tryon Street). It’s early but it will allow you to connect with our guests in a personal way, on the same level, as teammates struggling and preserving and encouraging each other in the pursuit of better health and fitness.

Be sure to follow our Tuesday workouts on Twitter, #Fortitude.

A smile that is contagious

Meet Derek and Fred.

The pair volunteers at the shelter at least 3 days a week.  Some days you will find them greeting guests and passing out drinks during lunch.  Other days they will organize and sort donations in the commissary. 

Derek & Fred pic

One thing is for sure – Derek’s smile is contagious.  He brings energy and compassion to melt your heart. 

“We are fortunate that Men’s Shelter of Charlotte allows us to spend a few hours each week with the men.”

Thank you, Derek & Fred, we’re truly lucky to have them!

After delivering clothing, he was hooked as a volunteer

Meet Larry.

He’s a regular in the kitchen and has a true passion for serving others.

“It’s an easy way to show the men the community cares about them,” Larry said.

Larry Bennet pic

Years ago, he delivered clothing to the shelter with his church and he was hooked.  Larry began helping his church with meals and soon took over leading monthly meal service for the Unitarian Universalist Church of Charlotte. 

When he retired about 6 years ago, Larry made an even bigger commitment to serving at Men’s Shelter of Charlotte.  He volunteers 1-2 times each week in the kitchen.

Our kitchen manager, Bob Breed, said Larry will do anything to help and often comes to the rescue!

“Its days when we’re shorthanded just before lunchtime – we’re scrambling to get ready and Larry appears.  He pitches in and lends a hand wherever we need it, and everything goes smoothly after that,” Breed said.

Larry says he enjoys working with the other volunteers and being there to encourage the men.

Thank you, Larry, for your dedication to ending homelessness. #NationalVolunteerWeek

 

 

Eight years of service at the front desk

Meet Jacqui. 

 Jacqui

Every Monday night you will find her warm smile greeting clients and volunteers at the front desk.  Jacqui has been a regular on the desk for 8 years!

She said the best part about volunteering is interacting with the men and supporting their lives. 

“I look forward each Monday to finding out if a guy got the job he interviewed for last week, and if that guy is doing well after his surgery. I just really care about them,” she said. 

When asked why she keeps coming back, Jacqui said the shelter is in her blood. 

“Sometimes it is chaotic and hectic, but it definitely keeps me grounded and enriches my soul. I am really grateful for my time there.”

Thank you, Jacqui, for all you do to support the men! #NationalVolunteerWeek

Governor’s Volunteer Service Award goes to St. Matthew’s Church

Church volunteers more than 30 years at shelter

Group is one of ten to receive the award.

governors award

St. Matthew Catholic Church was honored with the Governor’s Award for Volunteer Service during a breakfast celebration on Tuesday, April 14th. This year marks the 37th anniversary of the program that showcases North Carolina’s most dedicated volunteers.

30 years of Service

For over 30 years, St. Matthew has provided meal services – critical to the stability and well-being of our clients.  But their support doesn’t stop there. The Men’s Shelter of Charlotte Ministry team, led by Tom Ellis, exemplifies “best practices” and always finds ways to adapt to changing needs at the shelter.

First Group to support Housing and Employment Resource Center (HERC)

In 2013, St. Matthew became the first congregation to support the Housing & Employment Resource Center (HERC). The team consists of 10-12 volunteers who regularly rotate their service on Wednesday evenings to support our clients with job and housing searches.

Volunteers from the church provide weekly support in the commissary to pass out toiletries and clothing.  The church also has 4 separate meal service groups that provide lunch or dinner on a monthly or quarterly basis.

12,000 items collected through drives for the basics

Aside from volunteering, St. Matthew also has a commitment to providing basic necessities for the men.  All church members are invited to get involved through quarterly drives for socks, underwear and t-shirts. Last year, the group donated more than 12,000 items!

St. Matthew was one of 10 recipients to receive the Governor’s Volunteer Service Award.  It honors the true spirit of volunteerism by recognizing individuals, groups and businesses that make a significant contribution to their community through volunteer service.

Thank you for your service, St. Matthew Catholic Church! #NationalVolunteerWeek

Photo credit: Barrie Terrell/United Way of Central Carolinas

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