Dakota County’s Emergency Shelter 2018


How Serving Dinner at the Shelter Impacts Members & The Community

Matrix Housing Services provides overnight shelter in Dakota County throughout the winter. Several churches have been involved in housing this rotational shelter. Shepherd of the Valley has offered assistance by holding fundraisers such as The Community Chest, providing financially for all of the shelter’s mattresses (using Capital Campaign dollars) and making meals for the 45 – 60 residents that have entered the church’s doors hungry.

Members who served at the shelter gave us quotes of their experiences:

“Providing and serving a hot meal to the residents was an amazing experience. Talking with some of the young men (who are the same age as my own child) really tugged at my heart. These ‘kids’ have powerful stories to share and were very open to doing so. While some admitted making a couple of bad mistakes, the other stories centered on the lack of affordable housing. Everyone seemed very eager to get on a different path,” said Lisa.

“That was a good first experience, I like the teamwork of serving together,” said Lori. “As a cancer patient (who came in for a meal) talked and showed what he looked like two months ago before diagnosis/treatment, I realized he doesn’t have long to live…so I gave him my time and just listened.”

Ken said, “Each of us have unique gifts that we are called to use at different times in our lives and sometimes we never know when we are called to use our gifts. Our brief experience of serving a meal at the homeless shelter revealed the many gifts and talents (simple gifts and talents that perhaps most of us take for granted) that each of the members of our group contributed, like cooking a simple hot dish, baking bars, shopping for food, washing dishes, and talking and listening to some of the individuals who came to the shelter on a frigid night for a hot meal under a warm roof. We received many heartfelt thank-you’s from those that came through the food line. They appreciated the fact that people cared enough about them to take the time out of their day to provide a hot meal for them. It was a fun and rewarding experience for all the members of our group who helped plan and serve that night. As Mother Theresa said, ‘Not all of us can do great things. But we can do small things with great love.’”

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