CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) -The Charlottesville grassroots organization People and Congregations Engaged in Ministry (PACEM) is gearing up for shelter season. PACEM is comprised of more than 80 congregations and 3,000 volunteers who serve the homeless during the coldest of days.
PACEM provides thermal shelter for people who would otherwise be sleeping on the streets during the coldest months of the year. The group met Thursday, September 29, to strategize for the upcoming winter.
Beginning at the end of October and running through April, PACEM volunteers make sure that some of the community’s most vulnerable are shielded from the elements.
“We shelter those who are ineligible for other shelters in the area,” said Dawn Grzegorczyk, PACEM executive director.
For 22 weeks out of the year, congregations in Charlottesville and Albemarle County work together on a lot of moving parts.
“We’re able to provide handicap accessible transportation to and from shelter, shelter with both an evening meal and a continental breakfast, sometimes showers and laundry services,” said Grzegorczyk.
Sue Mueller is a long-time PACEM volunteer and member of the board. She says the key to effective service is to have leaders and guide people at each step of the way.
“We have teams, like I have a person who runs the meal team, I have a person who runs the overnight team, I have a person who runs activities and setting up the shelter,” Mueller said.
PACEM volunteers say there are lots of ways for people and congregations to get involved. If you’d like to learn more, you can click here.