A little over a week ago, our students partnered with our board of directors to host an evening of Room in the Inn’s winter shelter at Belmont United Methodist Church. This year marks the thirtieth year Room in the Inn has partnered with local congregations to host overnight guests from November to March. You can find out more about Room in the Inn through their website:
The experience of hosting eleven guests involved both collaboration and community. As most of our students do not have kitchens, they needed help preparing the evening meal. Our board of directors was more than glad to cover this need, and everyone agreed that the food was wonderful. Students helped serve the meal, prepared sack lunches for guests to take the next day, and even did laundry for the guests who requested it.
Conversations between students and guests around tables at dinner reminded us that we are all the same, and that we will all face difficulties at some point or another. I overhead one table discussing favorite movies (regardless of the winner, we showed the newer version of “True Grit” later that night). A guest at the table beside me asked about my favorite philosopher as we discussed the sense of apathy in our culture. The feeling of community was palpable.
Elyse Croce, one of our recent graduates who now works full-time with Room in the Inn, shared her thoughts on the importance of this evening: “Participating in Winter Shelter at a congregation is so meaningful because it gives you a chance to offer hospitality in every sense. From making beds to serving food to talking about life, the Winter Shelter program gives people an opportunity to give back in an incredibly profound and practical way.”
We were also blessed to partner with Belmont UMC whose Room in the Inn team has perfected the art of hosting. Volunteers from this team came to help with transportation and other needs. All in all, I was reminded that our lives depend on one another, and we are blessed by every opportunity to share and receive gifts of hospitality.