The Table Men’s Shelter in Huntsville has opened its door for the winter season.
CEO of the Table Soup Kitchen Foundation that runs the shelter is Heather Berg. She says the new approach to how their guests stay at the shelter seems to be gaining traction.
In the previous year of its operation, anyone staying the night would have to leave the shelter by 9:00am. This could often leave a homeless person at loose ends for many hours until they could come back in the evening.
“We have five guys right now,” she explains. “Our day program consists of a skill-building portion in the afternoon. So the guys are actually building their self-esteem and self-worth and setting goals.”
The residents have been volunteering at Four Season Greens, a year-round supplier of sprouts and other greens for sale in the Muskoka area. Other activities include volunteering at the food bank, and shoveling snow.
“We have a case worker that has been helping get the guys to appointments and getting a health card,” Berg says.
Other agencies are helping get some of her guests back on their feet.
“The Y actually has lined up a couple of odd jobs with the guys as well,” she confirms.
The new operating procedure has guests contributing to various household chores as part of their obligations for staying.
And this year there have been contributions of used laptops allowing guests to work on resumes, job hunt, and look for a permanent place to live along with building their online skills.
Berg is excited as one guest has already managed to find a place to live, which is not an easy thing to achieve at the best of times.
Social workers that have house guests at the Table Men’s Shelter meet with staff to discuss next steps and help improve the situations of the men.
While it is going well Berg says they are constantly in search of donations, financial and otherwise. The fact is, to keep the shelter going, staff needs to be paid.
“We can’t do any of this without our community, without their financial support,” Berg admits. “So that we can pay staff to do the work.
‘And we also need our volunteers so certainly there are some spots to fill still. But we’re so grateful for the volunteers who have been coming and listening to our guests and sharing with them and sharing food.”
If you would like to volunteer or contribute to the Table Men’s Shelter in Huntsville you can visit the website here.