We will be closing locations on different days. Please see below for a list of shelters and availability.
Delmar -Renovate Church: Last day is Friday March 15th.
Laurel-Nazarene Church: Last day is Saturday March 16th.
Milford- Avenue Methodist Church and Nazarene Church: Last day is Sunday March 17th.
St. Luke’s (Seaford), Gateway Fellowship (Bridgeville) will continue to operate when the temps are below 32 degrees. We will update the calendar and website as needed.
Please keep an eye out for emails from the SignUp Calendar. We will cancel the days that we are not open. Those days are labeled “OnCall” because we may or may not be open.
Georgetown Presbyterian will still continue to be open nightly under their emergency shelter direction.
Immanuel will also continue to operate nightly through April.
We would like to thank everyone that has served alongside of us this season. We thank the ones that are still serving through these last few bitter nights. We can not do it without your support!
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/
We have a list of ongoing needs that can be found here: https://codepurplesussexcounty.com/needs/ and a list of donation drop off sites here: https://codepurplesussexcounty.com/donations/
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!
We have 3 months left and we need a lot more help! Honestly, we have struggled some with getting help this year. We realize that with the holidays that it is hard to help if you are out of town. Our hope is that with people arriving back home, they will be able to sign up and help out where needed.
Our biggest shortfall has been in Milford this year. We have many dinners still needed. We have a few days of overnights still left to cover for men. We also still need almost every night covered for ladies. Fortunately, we have not had many female guests in Milford this year. Sign up here: http://signup.com/go/OyrDuhx
Seaford is still in need of a few days of overnight covered as well for both men and ladies. The dinners are coming in pretty well but there are always days left to help feed our guests. Sign up here: http://signup.com/go/tVbqNKZ
Laurel will not open until Jan 3rd because of a lack of overnight volunteers for Wednesday nights. We only need two people willing to stay each Wednesday night. There are still dinner slots open as well. Sign up here: http://signup.com/go/KFZBVEh
Georgetown still has nights that are not covered by volunteers. (There are no meals served at this site.) Sign up here: http://signup.com/go/vpjHZRO
Delmar is rocking it! But we would love to see them build up a great number of volunteers so no one person gets burnt out. Sign up here: http://signup.com/go/esZxDib
Please go and sign up! There are few of us coordinating and we also have families and jobs. We will probably not get around to reaching out to you personally. That is the very reason that we have the calendar available. If you have never volunteered before, DON’T WORRY, we will have someone on site to walk you through your first time volunteering.
Many blessings to everyone that serves alongside us to make Code Purple the ministry that God has called it to be.
A Christmas message to my friends and guest involved with Code Purple, Sussex County, DE
During the past year I have been blessed along with many other volunteers to provide assistance in helping the homeless guests in our community. The joy and the satisfaction received as this years cold season begins is knowing that many of the guests serviced last year have found jobs and a place to live. Though I miss many of those guests, I am thankful that they have been given such opportunities.
Unfortunately there is still a need to help the homeless guests in our community. There is a need to provide food as well as a warm place to sleep. We can provide this service as long as there are enough volunteers to keep the program going. Our most demanding need at present is for overnight volunteers.
Being an overnight volunteer is not a difficult job. When I first started volunteering I was apprehensive about safety or the ability to communicate with the guests. It didn’t take long to realize that the guests were people just like myself. They needed a place to get a meal, a warm bed and love.
The routine for overnight is quite simple. I arrive at the shelter around 8:15 in the evening & check to make sure the totes are ready for the guests and the cots are available. When the guests arrive between 8:30 and 9:00 they set up their cot, get their bedding, put there personal effects in the totes and after some socializing go to sleep! In Milford the guests usually get up around 6:30 AM, put the cots and bedding away and take their personal effects. There is a short time for coffee and clean up of the facility. They leave by 7:00 AM.
I have experienced a few challenges over the past year but the support of the Code Purple staff is overwhelming. Volunteering and helping our homeless guests is not only personally very rewarding , but the right thing to do.
Have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
Love and Peace
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.
We still have a HUGE need for overnight volunteers! Anyone interested in helping will be trained on the job. You may stay your first night with a seasoned volunteer if needed. Please take a look at the following information and let us know if you can fill in on any of the days needed. Even if you can only do a couple days a month, please sign up for those days online.
Milford Nazarene is still in need of female overnight volunteers for every other Friday night, some Saturdays, Sundays, Mondays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. Milford Avenue is still in need male volunteers for some Fridays and Mondays and any other blank spot on the calendar. Please fill out an online volunteer form here Volunteer Registration Form. Here is the link to sign up on the calendar. Milford Calendars.
Seaford: St. Luke’s is still in need of male overnight volunteers on Mondays, Fridays, Saturdays. Bridgeville: Gateway Fellowship still needs female overnight volunteers on Fridays, every other Monday, some Wednesdays and some Thursdays. Please fill out a volunteer form here Volunteer Registration Form. Here is the link to sign up on the calendar. Seaford Area Calendars
Bethany: Stone House is still in need of lots of overnight female volunteers. We haven’t opened in that area for lack of them. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org to let us know what days that you have available so we can plug you into the schedule.
Laurel Nazarene will open January 1st and is still looking for 2 male overnight volunteers for Wednesday nights. Please fill out a volunteer form here Volunteer Registration Form. Please email us at email@example.com to let us know if you can help us!
Georgetown Presbyterian operates as a partnership. We are trying to build up their volunteer base at this time. They are open regardless of volunteers but we would love to see the community get more involved. Please fill out a volunteer form here Volunteer Registration Form. Here is the link to sign up on the calendar Georgetown Calendar.
Delmar is not struggling like the other shelters but we welcome the extra help so we don’t burn out any one person. Please fill out a volunteer form here Volunteer Registration Form. Here is a link to sign up on the calendar Delmar Calendar.
Due to a shortage in overnight help, we will not be able to open the shelters in Milford tonight! They will need to go to Seaford or Bridgeville instead. We have many nights that still need coverage. Please consider helping us stay open at all of our shelters this season!
Click here for more information on volunteering! Volunteer Info