A block party gathering held at a local homeless shelter helped kick off a new outreach program aimed at helping people who live nearby.
The Jesus House, 1335 W Sheridan, recently held a block party for residents of two nearby neighborhoods to help launch the shelter's Adopt-a-Block program.
Rick Denny, Jesus House executive director, said the gathering was a first for the homeless shelter. The shelter offers a multitude of services to the homeless, such as food baskets, but its main program is designed to help homeless men and women who are mentally ill and suffering from addiction.
“We have a lot of homeless who are here, but the target of this event is the neighborhoods, Orchard Park and Westlawn Gardens,” Denny said. “Those two neighborhoods were what we wanted to focus on.”
He said the block party served as a fellowship gathering to help Jesus House staff members and volunteers build relationships with some of the people living in the Orchard Park neighborhood and Westlawn Gardens residential area, formerly known as the Mulligan Flats area. Denny said Jesus House staff members and volunteers plan to visit the homes of their neighbors on Saturdays as part of the Adopt-a-Block program, to identify which individuals and families may be in need of the shelter's services and resources.
He said that aid could come in a variety of forms, like emergency food and clothing, furniture or perhaps painting over graffiti. And Denny said Jesus House representatives will always try to provide spiritual encouragement for those they encounter.
“We have to do more than just wait for people to come to us in need,” he said. “We have tremendous food and clothing donations and we ant to make sure we get that out to who needs it.”