How one local family shelter is dealing with the Coronavirus

In a normal year, the Winter Nights Family Shelter in Contra Costa County is blessed with over 3,500 volunteers. Each week some 100 helpers from faith congregations, scout troops, and service groups prepare and serve food, plan children’s activities and assist with laundry.

The new shelter in place rules have turned this volunteer-powered model on its head and has created many unique challenges. Winter Nights is an essential business and closing is not an option. They will continue to support six families, including 15 children from ages four months to 17 years, until they find stable housing solutions.

Six feet apart, but closer than ever

Dealing with school closures and shelter in place, in what is essentially a communal living environment, is a team effort. It has brought the executive team, staff, congregations, donors and families closer than ever before.

Staff at Winter Nights are doing extra duty because of the absence of volunteers. Congregations have offered their sites as a shelter in place location and instead of preparing food they are ordering in from local restaurants. Travelling Tutors are setting up video conferencing to motivate and support students with online learning and our Program Director is staying in constant touch with health and housing agencies, providing guidance to staff and families under stress.

Closed doors, but open hearts

During this difficult time you can help. The Winter Nights budget was never set up to meet the demands the pandemic has put on the shelter.

Please consider making a donation to Winter Nights at ​www.cccwinternights.org/contribute

Your tax deductible donation will be used for the following:

  1. Extra staffing costs due to the absence of volunteers.
  2. Games, videos, creative solutions for keeping 15 kids occupied during shelter in place.
  3. Restaurant dinners for 22 people for 12 weeks.
  4. Fund emergency offsite quarantine should a family fall ill.
  5. Funds to expedite rapid housing solutions.

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