Peace on Earth. Goodwill towards men. These are some of the sentiments expressed during the holiday season, and Newton's New Hope Shelter has certainly been a beneficiary of those general feelings, as Director James Wilson said the outpouring from the community is tremendous around this time.
"The Christmas holiday, at times, gets a little overwhelming because we see so much," Wilson said.
From volunteering to bring meals to helping with Christmas parties to buying presents for the residents, Wilson has a lot of offers for help over the holidays.
Most recently, the Local Mission Guild from Golden Plains Free Methodist Church stopped by on Friday to donate several sleeping bags and quilts to distribute to individuals at New Hope (particularly to those transitioning out of the shelter). This was the second donation from the guild, which started up in the fall.
At the Newton shelter, Wilson noted there is a focus on establishing a community, with not as much transient traffic as other shelters. However, he admitted there have been some individuals coming and going recently, so the guild's donation was much appreciated.
"We've had some people through here, recently even, who definitely can use items like these," Wilson said, "so it's nice to have it on hand; that way when people are in need we can help them out."
Since starting up in the fall, Local Mission Guild volunteer Joan Fitzjarrald noted she has continued to hear from interested parties and that has the group thinking of potentially adding some projects in 2017.
In addition to the donation to New Hope, the guild is planning to drop off some hospice gowns to Good Shepherd on Dec. 30. Beyond that, the group hopes to continue growing and expanding in the new year.
"Our word for the year is commit, and so we're going to commit to the community, commit to each other and commit to family," said pastor Jean Bergren. "That's part of what this is, just committing to something beyond ourselves."
Fitzjarrald noted the guild members are dedicated to sticking to their task of helping the local community and are always happy to have additional assistance (and open to any ideas they may bring).
"We still need more volunteers. We always need volunteers," Fitzjarrald said.
Bergren noted the guild is looking to establish a website to reach out to other local organizations and those interested in learning more about the group can call 316-283-6584 or email email@example.com.