- New York
For over twenty-five years, the Friends Shelter has provided shelter and hospitality every night, seven days a week, 365 days a year, for fourteen homeless men and women. Located at 15 Rutherford Place, the Shelter is run entirely by volunteers, who comprise the whole range of New Yorkers, young, old, and in-between. Volunteers are artists, actors and musicians, students and teachers, homemakers, retirees, social workers, stock brokers and investment bankers, lawyers and judges. Some are Quakers, many are not; but all volunteers share the wish to help in a direct and positive way. Our guests, all single adults, come to us by bus from the Main Chance/Grand Central Neighborhood Drop-in Center where they receive counseling, medical care, and help with finding permanent housing during the day. They have opted out of the city shelter system, which many consider dangerous. By law, they are not allowed to sleep overnight in the drop-in center (although many must— “sleeping” in chairs). They are screened for any mental or physical issues before they come to us. Most volunteers give up one night a month to stay overnight with our guests and help keep the Shelter open. The volunteers arrive at 7:30 pm and convert our Friends Seminary/Friends Meeting Common Room into the Shelter by setting up cotsand a refreshment table. Our guests arrive at around 8:30, when we serve a simple buffet supper (no cooking required!). Lights are out at 10, and wake up is at 6, when we set out a light breakfast. The bus comes to pick up our guests at about 6:30, giving us time to store the cots, tidy up and leave by 7 to go to work or to whatever we do in our daily lives.
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