We will open tomorrow, Saturday March 23, 2109 in Seaford for men (St. Luke’s Parish Hall) and Bridgeville for women (Gateway Fellowship). We will serve dinner at The CROSS (703 East King Street, Seaford) at 7pm. Must be checked into the shelters by 9pm.
As March warms up, we wind down at Code Purple. We are always sad to say goodbye to our guests that we have grown to love as our very own family.
We will be open tonight (18th) and tomorrow night (19th) in Seaford (men) and Bridgeville (women). The temps beyond that are all above 32 degrees.
We are so grateful to everyone that has poured into our ministry this year. Please continue to pray for our guests as they make their way out into the world. It won’t be easy for some of them. We trust that the many prayers they have received this season have already paved the way for them to find the redemption that God offers.
Even though we are approaching the end of the season, we still have new volunteers stepping up to help us serve those in the community that are experiencing homelessness. We wanted to share one’s testimony after spending last night with the guests in Milford.
“Man, I wish I would have started a long time ago! Beautiful ministry. Hard to watch them go this morning. Would’ve sat around all day with them if allowed. Lord willing, I will take a night each week next year.” -New Volunteer
We love it when people join us and see just how great it is to serve alongside us at Code Purple. Don’t miss your blessing!
Code Purple was invited to be on Delmarva Life in January. They gave a list of questions that would be given during the interview. I was trying to make sure I was prepared to answer the questions appropriately. It seems that I was overprepared for the time that we actually had in the segment. 🙂 I thought they were good questions and I felt like the answers that I had prepared may be helpful to the people that want to know more about the Code Purple Ministry.
- What is Code Purple and how does it work? : CP is a collaboration of churches and volunteers coming together to shelter anyone experiencing homelessness in the winter. It started as a grassroots effort and has an established Board of Directors. We are separate from Kent and New Castle County Code Purple agencies. This is our fifth winter in operation. We open in December starting off based on temperatures (32 and below). Then we transition into being open every night from December 15th- March 15th. We invite everyone in need of a safe warm place to sleep, to come in, eat and sleep for the night. Each site has a few slightly different details but basically, we open at 7pm, eat dinner and then proceed to the shelters where the guests sleep. A few of the shelters have dinner on site.
- Where are these shelters set up? : The shelters are all set up in churches that have generously allowed us space for our guests. We have sites in Seaford, Bridgeville, Laurel, Delmar, Milford, and Georgetown. Some are in fellowship halls and some are in the church basements.
- Talk about the need for these shelters? : The need for shelter beds in Sussex County is huge. There are currently two year-round shelters and together they hold approximately 30 people. We served over 150 guests last year in just four months. There is an obvious lack of resource in this area.
- Who can use these services? : Anyone that finds themselves without a place to sleep at night is welcome at our shelters. Whether they have been experiencing homelessness for a day or chronically over years, they are welcome. No matter what they are going through in their lives, they are welcome. We are a low barrier shelter provider which means that anyone not able to get into a shelter due to lack of ID, addictions, mental illness, or other circumstances will have a safe warm place to sleep in the winter months.
- How do you staff the shelters? : Our shelters are fully run by volunteers. People in the community that give their time and resources to help us run one season at a time. We have training available before the beginning of each new season and then we train on the job once the season has begun. Everything is donation based. Even our dinners each night are brought into each location by members of the community.
- What do you look for in a volunteer? : We look for volunteers that are caring and committed. We want people to be able to be kind, compassionate and not easily offended. We see a lot of hard situations come through and our guests need to know that we care. We may not be able to fix many problems with the limited amount of time with our guests but many just want a listening ear. We need our volunteers to be patient and have some understanding of the amount of crisis that comes with experiencing homelessness.
- What kind of time commitment is it? : That really depends on the job that you are signing up to fill. The longest hours are overnight. That would be from about 8:30pm til 7/7:45am but you are allowed to sleep if you are comfortable with it. The intake position is about 2hrs of a commitment. Dinner is the time that you put in to cook and take it to the shelter. Some people drop off dinner but most stay and serve and fellowship with our guests. Fellowship is an important part of what we do in CP. Sitting, eating, sharing stories, and listening are some of the best moments of the season. It truly becomes family time.
- For those who cannot volunteer, how can they help the shelter? : For those who cannot commit time to be at the shelter, there is always a need for donations. We have a complete list of items as well as drop off sites in several towns. We depend on the generosity of the community to keep our shelves stocked with the needed items to run CP.
We want to remind everyone that Code Purple Sussex County is open each night no matter what the temperature happens to be for the evening. I know there is some confusion due to the announcements given during the frigid cold nights. Please have anyone experiencing homelessness call our hotline at 302-519-0024 to find a bed for the night. The hotline is answered 24/7 by a live person. Find all of our shelter information here: Shelter Sites
We have spots left on our calendars for volunteers to fill. Check out how you can help here: Volunteer Info
We once again want to take the time to thank all of our faithful volunteers! We can’t make this ministry successful!
We want to thank you all so much for getting us halfway through this winter! We have already served well over 100 guests this season. We are in our busiest two months now. There is always a build up from December into January and we stay very full until mid-March. February is a short month, so let’s see if we can fill in all the days on the calendar!
We still have a need for overnight volunteers in Milford. We have dinner slots and intake available at all the shelters. We are still in need of transportation from CROSS in Seaford to Gateway at night and then from Gateway to Seaford in the morning. Some of our volunteers haven’t been able to fit all the ladies in their car.
Here is the link to the calendars. They are very helpful to us in order to keep everything organized. https://codepurplesussexcounty.com/volunteer-site-calendars/
In response to some confusion due to the posts sent out by other entities during this cold snap, we want to remind everyone that we have been open every night since December 15th and will be open every night until March 15th. We will operate according to temps March 16th-31st. During that time, we will be open when the temp is 32 or below (that is listed as ON CALL on the sign-up calendar).
Again, we are very grateful to all the wonderful volunteers that have stepped up this year. You have helped us make it a successful season so far and we ask that you continue to support us by signing up and also by sharing our ministry with others.
First, we want to say thank you to everyone that has helped us so far this year. We couldn’t have made it this far without you!
This was written by one of our overnight volunteers that has been faithful over the seasons. We are pleased to share her thoughts here so you can better understand a piece of our ministry.
If you’re wondering what to expect as an overnight volunteer for a Code Purple women’s shelter, I’m happy to share my typical experience.Women typically arrive at the shelter at about 8:45 PM and “regulars” know the routine; they immediately prepare for “bed” on their air mattresses. There are two bathrooms available and occasionally someone will ask for a toiletry item from the nearby supply room. A guest who is there for the first time is provided with an air mattress, linens, toiletries and other supplies (as needed) and brief instructions as to the layout and expectations. (Lights out at 10, on at 7 am, no leaving the building, & morning chores.) The guests tend to be tired, quiet, private, cooperative and appreciative. Of course there have been a few rare exceptions, but nothing that was unmanageable! Most nights the guests sleep quietly without waking/interruptions for the volunteer.In the morning the ladies prepare to leave – taking all of their belongings with them. Some leave early to go to a job while others await transportation to the Cross Building or the ACE Center. They have a list of simple chores (wiping down bathrooms, cleaning coffee pot, taking out trash, vacuuming (when needed) which they do willingly. The volunteer adjusts the heat, turns off lights, and departs the building by about 7:50 am. I have always helped transport women back to Seaford, which makes sense logistically, and this is often the best opportunity to converse with the women.When I began to volunteer it was my hope to have regular opportunities to pray, talk, and get to know the ladies, but that has been a slow process. I always pray for the Holy Spirit’s leading as to when to attempt communicating beyond the superficial. There have been a few meaningful opportunities to share scripture and the gospel and pray together, but that has not been the norm.Staying at the shelter, for me, is not easy, convenient, or comfortable, but it’s worth it. It is a stretching/growing experience, and God’s grace is always sufficient! I have found there is no greater joy than being in the will of God and answering his Call to share the love, grace, and mercy of Christ (which He has lavished on me!) with others in our community. My prayer is that what feels like a sacrifice now will bear eternal fruit for His kingdom.