In 1979 St. Peter’s member Sue Coonen led the charge to start the St. Peter’s Soup Kitchen as a way to feed the hungry in uptown Charlotte. The Soup Kitchen grew over the years and in 1994, St. Peter’s joined with other urban churches to form the Urban Ministry Center, a day center for the homeless that serves lunch, coordinates Room at the Inn and provides other programs and ministries to address the needs of the homeless.
The Urban Ministry Center is staffed by a rotating group of over 50 volunteers, many of whom are members of other churches or from the city at large. It provides more that 59,000 meals each year, serving an average of 175 people seven days a week.
In 2011 the Urban Ministry Center opened Moore Place, which will provide housing and support services for 85 chronically homeless adults.
St. Peter’s members volunteer at Urban Ministry by participating on teams that serve lunch to the homeless. For more information about this and other outreach opportunities at Urban Ministry complete our Volunteer Inquiry Form. Learn more about the Urban Ministry Center.
In June 2003 St. Peter’s member Ruth Woodend and Freda Schlaman responded to a book about the needs of the homeless in Mecklenburg County by resolving to do something about it. Together they conceived and led efforts to create Samaritan House, which provides a healing haven for homeless people who are released from the hospital, or otherwise in need of recuperative care. The organization received its first guests on March 1, 2005, and in 2011 with the assistance of Carolinas Healthcare Foundation and the Leon Levine Foundation, it was able to purchase its own home. This is a larger facility, all on one floor, that can accommodate guests with crutches and wheel chairs. Since March 1, 2005 Samaritan House has nurtured and cared for over 700 men and women.
In addition to providing comfort and care, Samaritan House is making a positive impact on community health costs. Hospital personnel have reported to Samaritan House that 75% of homeless people released from the hospital return within 30 days of discharge due to a lack of proper care for their illness, surgery or injury. Only 7% of the guests at Samaritan House have returned to the hospital for the same illness, even those reporting a chronic illness. The cost to the hospital and community is approximately $2,500 per person per day, while at Samaritan House the daily cost is less than $80. Thus, based on the over 12,000 days of care provided since Samaritan House opened, the total savings now approximates $30 million.
While providing recuperative care, Samaritan House counsels with its guests about alternatives to avoid going back to the streets. Some guests move into permanent housing, others reconnect with family or friends and some are accepted into transitional housing. In all, less than 20% of its guests have returned to the streets or shelters.
Mission: To increase the reading, writing and spelling skills of low income children and teens in our community. We do this by recruiting, training and supporting volunteer tutors. Volunteers become Augustine tutors by completing a two week workshop where they learn multi sensory strategies based on the Orton-Gillingham approach using Wilson Reading System®. The heart of the training is a five day practicum under the supervision of experienced tutors who serve as coaches.
In 2004 Adele Hagood hoped to empower the neighbors at Urban Ministry in Charlotte by establishing a program to teach literacy skills to those who could not read or write. She recognized, however, that effective literacy programs call for long term, intensive one-on-one assistance for children who fall behind early in the development of reading and writing. She was led to the Augustine Project at Church of the Holy Family in Chapel Hill, NC. There she found a highly successful ministry which provides free tutoring to low income children and teens.
With permission to replicate the program and permission from the Vestry at St. Peter’s to begin this new ministry in Charlotte, Adele and Candace Armstrong completed the Augustine training in the summer of 2004 in Chapel Hill, and began training tutors through the Augustine Project at St. Peter’s in 2005. As of mid 2012 more than 80 volunteers have completed our training.
Assessment data indicate that our children and teens make progress in literacy skills needed for academic success.
Those interested in taking the Fall Training Workshop, Sept. 24-Oct. 5, 2012 are asked to contact Candace Armstrong at email@example.com or 704-332-7746.
For more information, please go to http://augustine.st-peters.org
In 2011, The Reverend Deacon Gene Humphreys and St. Peter’s member Nancy Duncan led an initiative is to establish one or more community gardens in uptown Charlotte. The St. Peter’s Outreach Commission organized a dinner to educate the parish about community gardening, and provided funding for the first of three planned gardens. The gardens will create opportunities for volunteers to join together and work side by side with students at Trinity Episcopal School and our urban neighbors from all different backgrounds and socio-economic conditions to grow fresh, healthy, local food. Most of the food from the garden will go to Friendship Trays (which provides meals for shut-ins), and some will go to the neighbors, students and volunteers who do the work. The first garden is already started, and is located on 8th Street near Trinity Episcopal School. Volunteers are needed for planting, harvesting and maintenance, from spring through fall. To volunteer contact Nancy Duncan.
Learn more about community gardening.
Coordinated by Charlotte’s Urban Ministry Center, Room In the Inn provides temporary overnight meals and accommodations for the homeless during the coldest months of the year, December-March. St Peter’s Church is one of more than 90 churches and other organizations that participate by opening their doors and recruiting their own members to staff the service. As many as 80 different St. Peter’s parishioners participate every year, each person accomplishing a different job. Our parish hall is transformed into a 12-person dormitory each Wednesday evening and homeless neighbors arrive in time for dinner. Each volunteer has a different task to make this ministry happen. The jobs include setting up beds, making and serving dinner, breakfast or lunch, chaperoning the neighbors overnight, cleaning up afterward, and doing laundry in preparation for the next week. While there is plenty of satisfaction in providing this much-needed help, the best moments occur during the interaction between volunteers and our homeless neighbors. To volunteer contact Des Keller.
Charlotte Family Housing (CFH) is an innovative solution for family homelessness in the greater Charlotte community. In 2011 Charlotte Emergency Housing, Family Promise of Charlotte, and Workforce Initiative for Supportive Housing (W.I.S.H.) merged in response to this growing number of homeless families in the community, to better serve this population in a more effective manner. In its two-phase continuum of care model, CFH provides supportive transitional shelter and affordable housing for its families. During both phases, the families work closely with social workers to receive intensive family-focused care and support such as vocational counseling, parenting skills and financial literacy. CFH empowers families to take positive steps in both phases to achieve financial independence and self-reliance. In addition, CFH will work closely with Charlotte community volunteers in order to drive success for homeless families. The model encompasses both short-term and long-term volunteer opportunities to help the families succeed. CFH will continue to foster a movement of long-term engagement with the families in order to break the vicious cycle of generational poverty. CFH will achieve this by providing training and a multi-year support system to community volunteers to work closely with the families to sustain their success. Learn more about Charlotte Family Housing. St. Peter’s has supported CFH for the past two years by providing a W.I.S.H. team to work with a family in transition from homelessness. St. Peter’s is currently seeking volunteers to join a team to serve at Hawthorne Place, a new CFH transition shelter for homeless families. Volunteers will serve meals and eat with the families and/or stay overnight for a week in the spring or later. To volunteer contact Nelda Leon.
Habitat for Humanity. Each fall St. Peter’s members team up with several other churches to build a home for a family through Habitat for Humanity. To volunteer contact John Knip.