Shalom House has served the St. Louis community for over 40 years as a ministry of the United Methodist Church. Shalom House provides the means for chronically homeless women to achieve stability and success through an Emergency Shelter, Transitional Housing facilities, and soon with its new Permanent Supportive Housing. All this would not be possible without their incredible volunteers who contribute so significantly to the work of Shalom House.
In July 2011, six church partners went through the process of asset mapping to help discover new ways to support the ministry. The transformation has been incredible. The partner churches were able to envision the ways in which their gifts could contribute to Shalom House and the women it serves, whether or not they could give large financial contributions. From the assets of churches (such as extra space to store donated furniture for the Permanent Supportive Housing Program) to the assets of individuals (such as carpentry and cooking), all have been utilized to improve and expand the scope of Shalom House.
By contributing time, energy, and talent, volunteers have not only cut down on the operating costs of Shalom House, they have gotten involved in the lives of the women served. By putting their faith into action and giving out of God’s love for them, volunteers demonstrate compassion and concern for the residents. This model has carried over to the women Shalom House serves. Just last week, a group of graduates of the program were able to give back out of the generosity they had received by serving at Kingdom House (a fellow Methodist-founded agency).
Shalom House staff members are regular participants in quarterly Christian Volunteer Manager’s Network meetings. They credit the collective wisdom of their counterparts in the group for their growing success with incorporating and managing volunteers in their daily activities.
Shalom House has experienced the rich benefits of partnership. It may seem daunting to develop relationships with other churches, agencies, and community entities, but Executive Director Tammy Laws and AmeriCorps VISTA Volunteer Coordinator Rebecca Tucker of Shalom House would attest that the rewards in the end are more than worthwhile. The sum of what Shalom House is able to accomplish in strengthening vulnerable women is much greater than what the organization or any of its partners could do alone.