Work day, board meeting bring members together
United Christian Homes, Inc. has re-grouped in an effort to make the only homeless shelter in Webster Parish more organized.
"For various reasons, the organization of our group has deteriorated," said Bob Dickson, Rehab Chairman for United Christian Homes. "We had some (members) who had many commitments, so we decided it was time to restructure."
After a workday was held Saturday morning, a board meeting took place.
"We are in the process of establishing new bi-laws and completing work on reestablishing our 501c3," Dickson said. "We had a few board members resign and we filled their vacancies."
The new board consist of Paul Gray as First Vice Chairman; Mary Whitaker as Second Vice Chairman; Charlotte Jones as Treasurer, Margret Evans as Secretary, Ed Brasher as a Resident Director and Rev. Robert Whitaker will serve in an advisory capacity.
New members include Allen Holland, Ronnie Sales, Lee Estabrook and Pastor Royal Scott, Jr.
"Everyone who has served has done an admirable job," Dickson said. "Without the help from the community, this organization and our work would not be possible."
Several challenges face UCH as it attempts to provide shelter.
"Not only do we serve the homeless in Webster, but we often get calls from Claiborne, Beinville, Bossier and Caddo Parishes," Dickson said. "When people come to us, they usually arrive with little more than the clothing on their back.
"They need everything from clothing to toiletries," he continued. "There are many ways the community helps and still areas where we could use more help."
Building supplies and work are often donated to UCH to maintain housing standards, while other organizations like the Master Gardeners have committed to maintaining the yards of the shelters.
Toiletries, food, clothing, education and job opportunities are also given to those who pass through shelter doors.
"When a lady comes through, not only does she appreciate the chance- but something as simple as lipstick helps her spirit," Dickson said. "When we have someone come to us, we see where they are at in life and try to help them get a job or maybe their GED.
"Our program is temporary," he continued. "The goal is to get the homeless people we serve on their own two feet."
Dickson said he was thankful for the support of area business in supplying jobs and in community members and partners in donations and volunteer hours.
"This is a challenge and we have had a few setbacks," he said. "But we will continue to serve, with help from our supporters."
Quarterly meetings have been established for the organization. The next meeting will be held on April 3, and on the third Saturday quarterly there after (July, October and January).
United Christian Homes was established approximately 40 years ago by area Christian churches to provide temporary, emergency shelter to applicants over 18 years of age who are homeless as a result of some catastrophic fire or storm.
Needy families are chosen without regard to race, sex, religion, national origin, age, financial status, veteran status or disability.
Anyone who is interested in supporting UCH should contact Bob Dickson at 377-4840.