Day Shelter and Food

Day Shelter and Food Banner

AHM is open every weekend of the year, serving over 34,000 meals to more than 2,200 people. Our Weekend Day Shelter is a community gathering place where needy families and individuals can stay all day, have good food and have access to community resource information.

Day Shelter and Food Graphic

Day Shelter and Food Photo

by Toni Townshend, AHM Literacy Director

Four children arrived at Advent House Ministries one Saturday from their home around the corner from the church in which our offices are housed. To the children’s astonishment, a huge hot lunch was waiting. The hungry 10-year-old twins and their two equally famished teenage sisters eagerly filled plates and sat down to eat. They joined the roomful of guests – men, women and children – who come to us each weekend. (Approximately 140 children and adults eat three meals a day at Advent House every single weekend of the year.)

The activity coordinator for the weekend Family Literacy Program spotted the four newcomers. She talked with them about their family and found out that they were stuck at home and bored on the weekends. In no time at all the activity coordinator had enrolled them in AHM’s special “Performing Poets: Expanding Horizons for All” program. This program utilizes choral reading as a technique for reading improvement. As she described the program, tears welled up in the eyes of one of the twins. “But, I don’t know how to read,” he whispered. “You will soon,” the coordinator offered. She explained that, with the choral reading in “Performing Poets,” everyone reads in unison (no memorizing necessary). If there’s an error, no one really notices. “Look! No mistakes!” she explained.

Her prediction came true. In the following seven months, as Advent House Ministries’ 12 Performing Poets, including the twins, made their way to several area schools to perform, they were able to demonstrate choral reading to others, which was received warmly by students and educators alike. The 10-year-old who couldn’t read is reading now and is almost caught up to grade level. For all the performing students, self-esteem rose remarkably the more they performed.

“Literacy is a bridge from misery to hope.” – Kofi Annan. Everyone has the right to learn how to read.

[Note: Each year at our Weekend Day Shelter, over 2,200 people seek assistance with food, shelter and advocacy; included are more than 450 children, each with the special needs associated with poverty. To meet these needs, we offer a children’s program every Saturday and Sunday. In the midst of the everyday difficulties of their lives, the children’s time with us is filled with laughter and learning. If you would like to be part of this as a volunteer and/or supporter, we and the children would love to have you!]