Top 5 Things You Learn During a Blizzard

Whether you called it Jonas or #Snowzilla, this past weekend’s storm packed a punch! Amid it, we found out a few things that happen at Carpenter’s Shelter when there is 24 inches of snow on ground. Take a look at our Top 5:

5. Even squirrels take refuge at Carpenter’s

When we saw the weather forecast for this past weekend, we knew we would have a full house. Over the weekend, we had 61 adults, 21 children, 5 staff members and one squirrel take refuge at Carpenter’s. Yes, a squirrel! All Friday night, shelter residents could hear our new friend, given the name Scampy, running up and down the length of the building in the ceiling. On Saturday morning, Scampy decided to clean up a bit and was found in the shower on the Men’s Unit. Like any shelter resident, Scampy knew he could not stay and Carpenter’s  forever, so he worked hard to find a more permanent place to live and made his official exit Saturday afternoon. This is one shelter guest that we do not expect to see remain connected to Carpenter’s through our Community Case Management program

4. Staff works around the clock

Carpenter’s Shelter is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year which means a little weather or even a blizzard does not stop our operation. The worse it gets, the more our services are needed. With roads becoming impassable and the Metro shutting down, five dedicated Carpenter’s staff members packed their bags and weathered the snow with shelter residents from Friday afternoon to Sunday evening. During their combined 258 working hours, staff ensured that shelter residents’ needs were met and everyone stayed safe and warm. We are so grateful for an amazing staff team embodies one of our values, dedicated to serving with respect!

3. Shoveling snow becomes a way of life

The Carpenter’s Shelter snow removal equipment worked overtime this past weekend. Many of our residents were eager to lend a hand and help staff keep our sidewalks and courtyard paths clear to ensure our building could be accessed safely. Shoveling snow is a great example of how residents help out around the shelter. When there is not 24 inches of snow on the ground, residents often volunteer to help with various projects including yard maintenance, moving furniture in the building and even serving and cleaning up after a meal if we do not have a volunteer group to do so. Carpenter’s Shelter relies on ALL–donors, volunteers, staff and residents–to run smoothly!

2. Hot meals are a must

Did you know that it takes five freshly made cakes to have enough dessert for 82 people? We do now! Between residents shoveling and the kids playing in the snow, hot meals and sweet treats were essential for surviving the blizzard. Carpenter’s Shelter relies on volunteers to not only serve 3 meals a day but to also prepare the meals. Even with two feet of snow, several volunteers made their way to Carpenter’s to make hot meals for all 82 men, women and children in the shelter. When the weather was at its worst and volunteers were unable to make it into the shelter, staff members put their culinary skills to the test and whipped up meals based on what had been donated to our panty, including lasagna and ham and potatoes. During the blizzard, a total of 583 meals were served.

1. It takes a village

Carpenter’s Shelter was founded on and has thrived for nearly 28 years because of community support. That did not change this past weekend. Community members spread the word that we were open with a No Turn Away policy for anyone seeking shelter. Volunteers ventured out into the storm to ensure our residents had meals to eat. Supporters called on Friday asking what they could do to help us prepare for the storm. Individuals and families dropped off items that our residents needed. Donors made contributions to help us cover the extra operation costs.

Because of you, Carpenter’s Shelter had the capacity to remain operational during a historic storm.

Because of you, our residents had gloves, hats and scarves to wear out in the snow.

Because of you, 61 adults and 21 children had a warm place to rest.

Thank you for your unwavering support. We couldn’t have made it through the storm without you!