I was just four or five years old when big band singer Kitty Kallen told us "Give
me your arm when we cross the street/ Call me at six on the dot/ A line a day when
you're far away/ Little things mean a lot." She was right. Little things DO mean a
lot at Emmaus Women's Shelter where we help make the difference between a dignified
life and a disaster. From the time we opened in 2009, simple things, gentle touches
and supports have made life better for 362 poor and homeless women.
Many of these "little things" are offered at our day center, located on Greenville
Street. This is the hub of information, connections and resources for guests, staff,
volunteers, and visitors alike. Women stop by to use the laundry facilities, shower
facilities, check mail, use a computer, sign up for a workshop and more. Here a woman
can obtain the small necessities that most of us purchase without a second
thought--postage for a business letter; a small bottle of hand lotion; zip-top bags
to hold possessions; a sheet of paper and the use of a pen. Small services are
available here too: use of a free phone, the photocopier, computer to check email,
a safe place to receive mail and messages. For many women who bounce from one living
situation to another, the day center may be the only constant way to get a message
from a doctor, prospective landlord or employer or even family members.
Yet attention to detail doesn't stop there. We serve coffee in a real mug, like
those we have in our homes. "We want our guests to feel respected. We encourage them
to step out, look for employment, seek out affordable and sustainable housing,"
explains Anne Marshall, Director of the Day Center.
Overnight shelter is the same way. Our women sleep in P.J's and have slippers--not
hospital gowns and disposable slippers. It's part of what makes them feel comfortable
and safe." The evening meal is served on a dining table, where children have just
completed their homework for school...just like at our homes.
Recently, we experienced a sudden uptake in the number of food boxes and pleas
for help that we received. One mother came by looking for baby formula. Two cans
were found, and a happy guest went on her way. Little enough to offer ... but it
made a big difference to that family. Thinkers from Aesop to Martin Luther King
have noted the importance of relatively small gestures in making someone feel
valued, loved and appreciated. "We are committed to providing the services that
matter to our guests, whether big or small," continued Marshall. "And we know
that the way those services are offered matters just as much."
"Give me a hand when I've lost the way/ Give me your shoulder to cry
on/ Whether the day is bright or gray / Give me your heart to rely on ...
little things mean a lot."
In Jesus Name and for His sake,
Executive Directory, Emmaus Women's Shelter
Make a Lasting Impact!
Women are sad and fearful when they first come to Emmaus Women’s Shelter. Family and friends sometimes
bring women and children to the shelter when they can no longer care for them. Some women and children are
brought to the shelter by our local law enforcement. Local doctors, nurses, and hospitals refer people to
Emmaus Women’s Shelter. Other social service agencies and churches refer women and children to us. Sometimes
they just come in off the streets.
It doesn't matter how they come to us; we care for them all. We provide services for homeless women and
children, victims of domestic violence, victims of street violence, victims of elder abuse, female veterans,
the working poor and homeless.
Our residents represent all ages, races and ethnic groups and educational levels. Last year we provided
shelter and services for who had college education. No one is immune.
Our youngest resident last year was a 2 month-old baby that came to Emmaus Women’s Shelter with her mom
and three siblings. Our oldest resident was the U.S. Veteran over 65 years of age.
During our first 17 months of operation we provided meals, laundry facilities, hot showers and
safe shelter for a total of 9,430 nights.