CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) – Charlottesville-area churches and other organizations are gearing up to help people who will desperately need food and shelter during the colder months.
PACEM (People And Congregations Engaged in Ministry) will open its doors to the homeless population in Charlottesville at the end of October.
“It’s a constant effort to get things rolling every season,” PACEM Executive Director Jayson Whitehead said.
PACEM takes in around 45 men and 20 women each night, and provides food and shelter, and resources to help them get a job or medical help.
“The night always begins with intake, and then it involves a hot meal, a place to sleep, and usually interacting with some of our volunteers,” said Whitehead. “We’re trying to help them step back up the ladder.”
The organization makes sure to train volunteers so that they are ready to help when the cold weather comes.
“It’s talking about what activities are appropriate. It’s talking about what kind of conversations with people that we don’t know and that we don’t normally have conversations with, would be appropriate,” PACEM Program Director Adriana Nicholson explained.
Nicholson said she was first drawn to PACEM after feeling like she was stepping over homeless people on the Downtown Mall.
“Let’s be honest, when we’re out on the street and we come across a homeless person, we don’t have a conversation with them,” she said.
“In this line of work you see great need all the time, but you also see concrete ways that you can really help people get back on their feet,” said Whitehead.
PACEM will hold a volunteer training session at 6 p.m. Thursday, October 5. Click here to learn more about volunteering with the organization.
Starting October 28, PACEM will open its doors to the homeless population every night.