We have never done this before, what is the evening like?
CPC volunteers pick up our guests at the downtown site (Room in the Inn) and bring them back to CPC. In the meantime, other volunteers are back at the church, setting up beds, decorating the Gathering Room, and preparing to serve dinner. We welcome our guests upon arrival, just as we would someone into our own home. Dinner is served to our seated guests, while we all enjoy conversation around the table. From there, the evening may include haircuts, music, chess, cards, or other relaxed activities. We also include a moment for devotion and sharing the gospel. Children are more than welcome to be part of the evening, too! Once dinner has wrapped up, a few of our CPC men stay overnight with our guests. The next morning begins early with a hot breakfast and sack lunches given out before everyone loads the bus to head back downtown to Room in the Inn.
Is it safe to host a group of homeless men?
Yes! Room in the Inn screens the men who will be joining us. Should there be any concern, they will not allow them to come. The men attending see this opportunity as a privilege and know that should they become belligerent or cause harm, they may not participate again. With this, you will find that the men are thankful, talkative, nice, funny...much like when you get your own family together.
We are bringing and serving dinner. What should we expect?
Thank you for taking on this role! Please have dinner prepared and ready to serve by 6:15 p.m. The men will arrive around 6:30 p.m. Dinner will be plated in the kitchen and then served to our guests in the Gathering Room. We serve both our guests and other volunteers who are there for fellowship. Throughout dinner, please offer seconds and drink refills. We encourage dessert to be served separately from dinner so the evening does not feel rushed. It is recommended that you bring sweet tea and/or lemonade to accompany dinner. Decaf coffee and water pitchers are available in the kitchen. Plates, cups, and utensils are available in the Gathering Room Kitchen. One of our leadership team members with RITI will meet you in the kitchen to help you with everything. Lastly, plan to help with clean up before you leave. If there is a substantial amount of food leftover, we may wrap it and take it to Room in the Inn for them to serve the next day during lunch.
I want to help with breakfast, but I cannot be there so early. May I drop off a casserole or other item to be warmed in the morning?
Yes! A breakfast casserole, fruit, and juice make for a great breakfast to start the day! The men who stay overnight are able to warm the casserole in the morning. We do ask that breakfast contain a hot item. If you can arrive at CPC early to make a hot breakfast, that is great too!
Are children allowed?
Absolutely! In our experience, children are very welcomed by our Room in the Inn guests. We have watched as they play chess together, read to the kids, and even pray with them. If your children are old enough, they make great servers too. If your children are too young to join in the full evening, we welcome them to make cards for each of the men to go on their pillows or in their sack lunches.
If I’m signed up to stay overnight, what do I need to know?
Your role is so important to our evenings. You will have the biggest relational opportunity with our guests. Please arrive at CPC by 6:15 p.m, so the men may meet you when they arrive. Please bring a sleeping bag and pillow, and wear comfortable clothing for sleeping. You will be sleeping on a cot and are welcome to bring anything you need to be comfortable for the evening. You will be at CPC until around 6:15 am on Monday morning. While there are restrooms available, there are not showers available - so you should allow time to return home to get fully ready for your day. We encourage you to enjoy breakfast with the men before they leave. Logistically, you will also help with cleanup in the morning, which includes helping the men break down their cots and their bedding.
I am rather skeptical - can one night really change a homeless man’s life?
Well, one night is probably not going to solve the problems that have our guests in a homeless situation. However, one night can be lifesaving on a freezing night. It also gives us an opportunity to be Jesus to these men by offering a warm meal and our CPC hospitality. Further, the multitude of programs and daily support which the campus downtown for Room in the Inn offers on a daily basis are proven to change the circumstances of many and lead to them toward no longer being homeless.
You can also contact Scott Orman:
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