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The Bridge (formerly CARES Outreach) began at Centenary United Methodist Church in March 2005 as part of the initiative from the City of St. Louis as it presented it's "10 Year Plan to End Chronic Homelessness."
Centenary UMC offered its facility as a place where meals could be served to homeless individuals that were prepared in a health inspected and maintained kitchen facility.
The Bridge has grown since November 2005 from just a few lunches each week to a daily drop in center currently serving approximately 3000 meals during the 60 hours the doors are open each week.
People who volunteer at The Bridge perform a variety of tasks. The front desk is staffed during open hours by volunteers who answer the phone, sort and distribute mail, monitor sign-in sheets, and maintain the guest hygiene pantry–among other things. Perhaps most importantly, these volunteers greet many guests each day, providing information about other agencies and ways to contact them, answering a host of questions and, sometimes, just listening when what one of our guests needs most of all is to just talk.
Volunteers collect, deliver, and sort warm coats and blankets during the cold months. They donate lemonade and popsicles and sunscreen in the summertime. They donate financially; some through their church or organization; some from their own pockets. They cook and serve and clean. They bring bath soap and deodorant and cotton socks when the shelves of the guest pantry are getting bare. During the month of December, they bake cookies and sing songs and read the Christmas story so that sojourners who don't currently have a home of their own can still enjoy some of the pleasures of home during the Christmas season.
It is no exaggeration to say that, without volunteers, The Bridge simply could not fulfill its mission to provide sanctuary for homeless and at-risk persons in St. Louis. If you would like to help, please call 314-421-3136, ext 105, or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You may be just the person The Bridge needs right now!