Shelter offers a safe, warm refuge

By Pat Sunderland


An open house at the Abraham Connection homeless shelter was a festive celebration befitting the holiday season. Live music from Beth Williams filled the air, while shelter volunteers and community members enjoyed appetizers and mingled in the common area. No one could have guessed that a temporary certificate of occupancy had been issued just hours prior to the celebration.

Cheryl Oeltjenbruns provided welcoming comments for Abraham Connection's board of directors. "As we have said over and over, this is a shelter built for the community, by the community. As a board we know we could not do this without the support of everybody in this room, as well as everyone in the community. We just want to give you a great big hand of thanks for that."

She pointed to a large marker board headed, "What is home?" The marker board is used during volunteer training to identify what home means to every individual. "What is it that makes you feel comfortable in your home?" Oeltjenbruns asked. "Watching the Broncos, a warm bath ... those things you take for granted every day but make you feel safe and secure. That is the environment we're trying to provide for the guests who come into our shelter. What we want to do here is create a home."

Before ambassadors from the Delta Area Chamber of Commerce joined board members for the ribbon-cutting ceremony, Oeltjenbruns recognized board member Dick Kirkpatrick, who served as general contractor for the building.

Volunteers gathered at the building again Saturday to help finish the move from the basement of the Delta United Methodist Church. Within hours, the shelter was ready for its first guests -- and word had apparently quickly spread, as the shelter opened its doors to 18 guests.

The facility serves men, women and children of all ages, from all walks of life. The new building is located at 480 Silver Street.

More volunteers are always needed in a variety of capacities. The next volunteer training session is Thursday, Dec. 10, at 6:30 p.m. at the Presbyterian Church of Delta. More information is available by calling 773-8290.