This time of year is known for giving: donations, volunteering, and considering those that have unmet needs in our communities. Truthfully, this is something that we all need to consider year-round. There are many people that work tirelessly everyday to support people in need: feeding those that need food; providing clothes, medical care, and professional services. The Shalom Project is full of such people; they are an organization in our hometown of Winston-Salem, NC that serves many needs felt in the community.
One of our team members, Paige, volunteers at the Shalom Project. I asked her some questions to learn more about Shalom’s mission and vision for Winston-Salem.
How did The Shalom Project begin?
Fifteen years ago. The Shalom Project began to fill some of the needs of residents in the West Salem neighborhood. Today, we service over 100 households each week with food, clothing and medical care.
In addition to our efforts to assist with the basic needs of medical care, clothing and food, The Shalom Project also oversees long term initiatives to engage with and involve the community in our efforts to reduce poverty and improve our city.
What is your role?
I volunteer a few times per week. I help maintain the clothing closet, and assist in the food pantry. The clothing closet, along with the food pantry is open to the community on Tuesdays. I currently assist in the food pantry on this day. On Wednesdays I help make meals that are given to clients that come to our Medical Clinic. Other days of the week I can be found in the clothing closet: sorting, hanging, stocking and organizing our sorting room and store.
Why are you involved?
I'm involved with this organization because at the heart we are just here to help the community for basic needs without requiring anything from them.
The Shalom Project operates a food pantry that provides emergency groceries to over 200 families per week.
The Clothing Closet receives donated clothing (freshly washed and in-season) to give to people of all ages and sizes. Clothing can be a survival necessity—especially during the winter—or an integral part of getting a job.
The Medical Clinic provides primary care and fills prescriptions at no cost. Need we say more? When millions of Americans can barely afford healthcare, millions more cannot afford it at all.
Flourish is an “intensive 18-month program designed to help women who serve as heads-of-households transition out of poverty or financial insecurity”. This program specifically addresses a systemic problem within the community by believing that a solution is possible, and that a support system is necessary to overcome great obstacles.
What sparks your passion for the many services provided by Shalom?
The possibilities of how we can do more to assist those in our community that right now can not do for themselves is what keeps me there.
What are the biggest needs for the Shalom project?
It's difficult to choose what our biggest needs are. We are always in need of ready to eat sundries in our Food Pantry. Children's clothing moves fast so we are always in need of more! You can find out about the many ways to donate to The Shalom Project on their website.
When are the biggest needs?
Our needs extend all year long. During the holiday season, we are looking for hats, gloves or scarfs. Anything to keep warm as several of our clients live outdoors. Blankets and sleeping bags are always requested this time of the year.
Any particular service that you want to highlight?
It's so hard to choose! But I would say the Clothing closet. Donating clothes helps your neighbors in the community and keeps items out of our landfill.
What organization is doing this work in your community? How can you help, donate and support them in their work?