Down East Seniors learn about origins of Zion Shelter

Published 11:16 pm Friday, November 18, 2016

The Down East Seniors Club held its Nov. 16 meeting at the Blind Center of North Carolina in Washington. President Ed Hamrick led the meeting. Jim Hackney played for the singing of “God Bless America,” and Ed Bolen gave the invocation. Dick Paul provided humor.

Bill Cates announced that the club will ring the bell for the Salvation Army at Walmart on Dec. 5. He passed around a sign-up sheet.

Chip Ide reminded the club about the Dec. 21 Christmas party at 6 p.m. and passed around a sign-up sheet. He asked members to pay $25 per person at the next meeting which will be Nov. 30.

Joe Rose introduced Harlan McKendrick as the speaker. McKendrick, a native of Massachusetts, moved here in 1975. He was involved in the formation of the Interchurch Forum, a group of local ministers and lay people working to solve local problems. Lovey Shelton with the Beaufort County Health Department stated that two major community problems were tuberculosis and homelessness. She said if the homeless could get regular meals they would be more likely to take their medication and keep the tuberculosis under control. Robert and Nancy Hodges obtained approval from the Metropolitan AME Zion Church for their basement to be used as a homeless shelter for men. The shelter opened Dec. 15, 1984. After receiving donated kitchen equipment, they started serving the noon meal six days a week. Later showers and laundry facilities were added. With the ability to clean up, some of the homeless men were able to obtain jobs. This is in line with the shelter’s goal of helping the men become self-supporting. Currently the city and the county each provide 25 percent of the shelter’s funding. The remainder comes from grants and donations.

Hamrick reminded the club that there would be no meeting next week due to the Thanksgiving holiday.

James Lupton won the 50/50 drawing.