FPCPA has said an enthusiastic “Yes!” to Heart and Home Collaborative, who was seeking a faith partner to serve as Host Site for their cold weather shelter for up to 15 women in Palo Alto from January 10 through February 21, 2020. This group, which primarily serves women over 55, urgently needed a location to allow their clients to remain indoors through the winter.
The 2020-2021 shelter season is Heart and Home’s 8th year of operation in Palo Alto. Normally they are hosted by three churches for six-week sessions from November through March. This year, due to the COVID-19 emergency, one of their long-term host sites (University Lutheran Church in College Terrace) was too small to provide the necessary 6 feet of space between mattresses.
FPCPA has a long association with H&H, although we have never hosted them. Gail Thompsen have attended their initial planning meetings, given donations through Social Justice, collected money, supplies and coffee cards, and one year we made Valentines for the women. A few of us have provided meals and spent time socializing with the guests.
The operation will be similar to that of Hotel de Zink, which we hosted this July. The women will be in Fellowship Hall from 5 pm to 7 am nightly, with access to the two bathrooms outside the kitchen, but not to the kitchen itself. The guests do the daily clean-up. Chyrise is our point person and has communicated at length with the head of H&H about logistics. Our Pandemic Task Force and Session have approved the arrangements. Heart and Home has certified its COVID-19 protocols with the Santa Clara County Public Health office and trains its volunteers.
Volunteers bring a prepared meal every night and an H&H volunteer supervises the meal. Most volunteers will be people from University Lutheran or Heart and Home, but we are encouraged to sign up as well, at https://signup.com/Group/11056662780112/. This signup also includes opportunities to donate supplies.