Homeless Connect 2010-2011

Ways to Get Involved:
  • This year we are looking to partner with potentially three shelters in the Amherst Community: VitaNova (a Mercyhouse church plant located here in Amherst,) Palmer's Shelter (~20 minutes from Amherst,) and the Springfield Overflow Shelter we have been worked with last year (~30 minutes from Amherst.)(Palmer and the Springfield Overflow both accomodate up to 15 men a night. VitaNova may be open to both men and women.) At the shelters you might help greet and sign-in guests, prepare or serve dinner or breakfast, assist certain guests with filling out documents or obtaining the resources they need, but MOST IMPORTANTLY interacting with and forming relationship with the guest on a personal level. Shelters should be opening as he weather gets colder, in mid-to-late Oct or Nov. We will keep you updated and post specific shift information as it becomes available. Shelters in Northampton are also being considered for additional volunteer opportunities.
  • The Monday Night Prayer Walks in Springfield may be starting again this semester. In these walks, churches and other religious and charity organizations as well as students from all 5 colleges meet at the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield and travel throughout the city delivering blankets, coat, socks, hats, mittens, sandwiches, soup, water, prayer, and conversation to people we encounter on the streets. Rides to shelters are also offered. (Hours typically 9pm-12am)
  • A group is also looking to offer similar service walks thoughout Northampton.
  • Project Homeless Connect, Sept. 15th from 8am-2pm, a huge one day event in Springfield where those who are homeless or on the verge on homelessness can come to one place and receive a number of resources and services. Services include assistance finding housing (emergency, temporary, and permanent,) legal advice, ID's & birth certificates, employment agencies, medical care, mental health professionals, eye doctors & dentists, haircuts, clothing, food, etc.
  • Great way to get involved for those who are staying on campus for Fall Break! The Food Bank of Western, MA is looking for volunteers to staff the Paradise Center Arts Auction, Oct 7th-11 in Northampton. It's ranked 3rd among arts and crafts fairs nationwide and all the proceeds go to the Food Bank which responds to immediate and emergency hunger through food distribution programs throughout Western, MA.
  • Shelter Sunday, Oct 17th, a one-day fundraising event where we, along with other students and community groups, will be traveling door-to-door throughout Amherst to raise money for Amherst's Friends of the Homeless. We will be inviting athletic teams and dorms to join us as well so encourage your friends to participate! http://www.sheltersunday.org/
  • Once a date is set we hope to volunteer at the The Phoenix Arts Auction in Springfield. The Phoenix Arts Project is "a community of homeless and low-income people who love to paint, draw, sculpt and support each other’s artistic growth. The art class, held two afternoons a week, is located in the basement of Christ Church Cathedral."  http://phoenixartsproject.org/
  • The Hunger Summit 2010, will be held this Wednesday, September 29th in Springfield from 8am-7:00pm. Hosted by the Food Bank of MA, it will feature workshops, speakers, and round-table discussions on "how to run a better nonprofit to how to build strong local food systems for everyone." You do not have to stay the entire time! Just send us what times you are available (which workshop series you want to participate in) and we will organize transportation.                                    http://www.foodbankwma.org/events/ham/hunger-summit-2010/
  • We will be engaging the entire campus, the Amherst/Hadley communTity, and all 5 colleges in a Stuff-the-Bus this Spring. STAY TUNED!
  • We will be hosting a HUNGER BANQUET on campus this October to demonstrate the realities of poverty and homelessness to the Amherst community. It will also feature a faces of the homeless panel including, hopefully, a former homeless Amherst alum as a guest speaker.
  • We will be hosting Dorm events for blanket-making-- all the blankets will be donated to local shelters. One will be Nov 1st at Morris Pratt. If you are an RC or would like to get your dorm involved please let us know!
  • We will be holding a large Holiday Drive in November!
  • As usual, Sleep Out to Speak Out will be held in the Spring!