By Jenna Quintin

Newton Kansan

"Try to stay warm out there," people say as the weather turns blustery. For some folks staying warm is about trying to stay alive in the frigid temperatures. The jokes about eating too much on Thanksgiving are inevitable; for some having enough is no laughing matter.

The Harvey County Homeless Shelter takes care of cold and hungry folks. They also guide and mentor them for housing, jobs, GEDs.

"We're not just a place to sleep and eat. We know their lives, their stories," said Stefanie Goodman, office assistant and volunteer coordinator.

This year, the shelter is "promoting that residents go to the community Thanksgiving lunch at First Baptist Church," said Director James Wilson.

In the evening, they will share a light dinner together at the shelter. Someone is donating cupcakes the day before Thanksgiving as well. In past years, different groups have provided special dinners at the shelter.

As Thanksgiving as the first of a parade holidays, the Homeless shelter is also gearing up for Christmas. They will be hosting their only fundraising event of the year, the Celebration Hope dinner on December 12 and 13, at Hesston Mennonite Church. Entertainment will be provided by the Newton Performing Arts Center with selections from the Nutcracker. Early reservations are $25 per person and after December 2 will be $40. Call at 283-3729.

Another way to help, is to adopt a resident for the holidays. The shelter provides a wishlist for donors to purchase a gift. The personal nature of the gesture makes it special for both the giver and receiver.

Other Christmas activities at the shelter include a Christmas party for former residents. It is a time for catching up, reminding folks that they are cared for, loved and appreciated.

"Our ministry extends beyond the shelter," Wilson said. "We remain involved and build a lot of relationships down here."

The shelter holds a quarterly former resident dinner and frequently supplies them with groceries on a monthly basis. Other neeeds include winter clothes, including sweats and socks, are in short supply. Blankets and winter coats are greatly appreciated as temperatures continue to drop. Lunch meat, sandwich baggies, non-perishable food items and toilettries help as the shelter remains pretty full at during this season.