Mission

The Saint Matthew Ministry to the Charlotte Men’s Homeless Shelter provides spiritual support, clothing, nourishment, and employment and housing support to the Charlotte region’s homeless men seeking to improve their life circumstance.

Description of agency served:

Men’s Shelter of Charlotte is dedicated to providing safe emergency shelter while working to end homelessness for each man. Our vision is to serve as a catalyst for systemic change to end homelessness in our community. On any given night there are 350 men staying at Men’s Shelter of Charlotte, where they receive basic needs including beds, meals, restroom and shower facilities, laundry, and personal hygiene items. A host of on-site supportive services are also available, including our Housing and Employment Resource Center (HERC), substance abuse and mental health services, peer support, individual case management services, and medical care. Last year our housing specialists helped 321 men move home. Of the men we help transition into housing, over 70% retain housing for at least 2 years.

www.mensshelterofcharlotte.org

Volunteer Opportunities

Information Technology Help Needed

If you have computer skills and would like an opportunity to make a major impact on young men’s lives, the St. Matthew Men’s Shelter Ministry can help you connect to assist others. We are seeking several volunteers to assist young men to build resumes, complete online job applications, connect with family members, and find permanent living quarters. If you would like to learn more about this satisfying ministry work which entails just several hours one evening per month, please contact Tom Ellis at 704-208-0919 or tjellis.qdoon02@gmail.com.

Commissary Staffing: Wednesday, 6:30 to 8:30 pm

Foodservice: Second Saturday of odd # months  – (Jan., March, May, July, Sept., Nov.)

Housing and Employment Resource Center (HERC): Wednesday, 6:30 to 8:30 pm

Time Commitment

Commissary Staffing: Wednesday evenings, minimum once/month, two hours/visit

Foodservice: Second Saturday of odd # months, three hours/visit

Housing and Employment Resource Center (HERC): Minimum once/month, two hours/visit

Contact: Tom Ellis or 704-208-0919

New to volunteering at St. Matthew? Please read our Safe Environment Policy.

Thank you to Tom Ellis for 35 years of service to this ministry.

My family and I moved to Charlotte in 1987 for a new business assignment with Procter and Gamble. I heard about the Men’s Shelter Ministry at St. Matthew that same year. In late 1987, I joined the small parish shelter team, and along with other parishioners, we began preparing and serving dinner meals on Saturday evenings. We served approximately 70 to 80 meals on Saturday evenings for four to five years.

As years passed, in addition to our food purchases and preparation, the shelter staff asked us to evaluate the usefulness of items in a large warehouse on the rear premises of the shelter’s property. We found the warehouse was in total disarray. Local people would bring clothing and supplies to the shelter and place them in the warehouse. They dumped items in a large pile in bags or loose pieces. In 2002, Brent White and I decided we would have to sort through the pile of supplies and find what was useful and what needed discarded. We worked for several months to sort through the supplies. We used a dumpster to discard over 90% of the warehouse donations.

We then set up a clothing closet within a smaller portion of the warehouse. We separated the men’s clothing and hung pants and shirts on metal bars, which we installed. We operated the shelter warehouse on Saturday mornings with other St. Matthew volunteers from 9 am to noon. After organizing the clothing supplies, the shelter management made us aware that they were tearing down the warehouse. We then began sorting and moving the clothing supplies into a smaller room space within the main shelter. We opened this distribution room to shelter guests on Saturday afternoons before serving meals in the shelter kitchen. At this time, we learned that the emergency men’s shelter on Statesville Avenue needed clothing for their guests as well. We fielded two other teams to work in the emergency shelter on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, since the shelter was several miles from the main one. We also began funding and serving meals at the Statesville emergency shelter. We continue to provide these services at both shelters to any shelter guests in need.

In year 2010, to address a continuing need of shelter residents, we began distributing men’s underwear and socks donated by our parishioners. We recruited parish volunteers to distribute the supplies to the shelter guests on Wednesday evenings in both locations. These services continue to date.

Around 2010, the shelter management asked us to provide counseling services to the shelter guests to help them find housing and work. We were able to build several teams to help locate job opportunities, complete job applications, build resumes and train the guests on interviewing in the Shelters Housing and Employment Resource Center (HERC). Again, we appealed to parishioners for help and they delivered. We have continued to provide these services on Wednesday evenings for over 12 years.

The Men’s Shelter of Charlotte is now serving over 300 homeless men between their main campus shelter and the emergency shelter. Parishioners continue to provide team support for both locations. Our parish has answered our prayers, requests to provide funding, and need for volunteers for over 34 years. We are thankful for our generous and caring parish staff and volunteers.

I am also grateful that Teisha Mitchell has joined our team and has the background, skills, and energy to take our ministry to another level.

We are very appreciative and thankful to our parish administrative leaders who provided the necessary funding and assistance needed to serve Charlottes homeless men.

Tom Ellis

tjellis.qdoon02@gmail.com