08 May A Deep Connection
Sharon Roos, a much-loved supporter of The Sophia Way, shares her story.
Our connection to The Sophia Way came about in many different ways. We volunteer regularly, and through some of our activities, we became increasingly aware of the plight of people trying to overcome homelessness.
Our church, Newport Presbyterian, has been involved in supporting The Sophia Way since its inception, about ten years ago. They provide monthly dinners for the night shelter at Sophia’s Place and needed breakfast and lunch items for the following day. That is how we learned about the work that The Sophia Way was doing to help women move into housing. We thought their mission was so effective and wanted to support them. We began providing meals every month, and soon it led to an increase in interest and commitment to their programs.
We live close to the shelter, and I’ve enjoyed stopping in a day ahead of time to learn the current breakfast and lunch needs and also visit with the guests there.
A few years ago, I transitioned to the lead person for our church and also enjoyed being our representative at The Sophia Way’s monthly Support Network meeting. It has been a great way to stay current with their changing needs. The Support Network is an amazing group of representatives from about 20 faith-based and service organizations who share the same passion of supporting women experiencing homelessness. Attending these meetings also allows me to keep our Mission & Peacemaking Committee alerted to special needs.
In early 2017, the Support Network was challenged to take on the project of supplying Hospitality Baskets for women transitioning from the shelter into their own apartment. These baskets are loaded with more than 30 essential personal and household items – things that everyone needs when they move into an apartment – and are greatly appreciated by the women receiving them.
Each month, the Support Network group works to fill these baskets. At our church, we have a bin with a list of needed items for the congregation to contribute. The list includes items for the Hospitality Baskets as well as travel-sized toiletries for the Emergency Shelter.
I’ve enjoyed being involved with The Sophia Way in many different activities. One year, my husband Jack and I volunteered to join the group to pick up and sort donations from Microsoft’s Christmas gift drive. Another activity that I like is occasionally joining the Community Brunch and spending time with guests for games, ‘shopping,’ and fellowship. The annual luncheon fundraisers have been a regular highlight for us where we have an opportunity to learn more about The Sophia Way’s accomplishments and plans for the year ahead. It’s always been inspiring to hear the stories from women who have been supported and provided housing as the base for positive changes in their lives.
The Sophia Way uses a holistic approach to women they serve; addressing their challenges of employment and mental health issues as well as housing and food needs. We love volunteering with and supporting this dynamic, compassionate organization!