From The Frontlines of Alberta’s Only Family Emergency Shelter

This post was written by the Inn from the Cold, as part of our ongoing charity spotlight series.

As the holidays near and snow falls, many families are bracing themselves for a difficult winter as they face unstable housing or homelessness. But, homeless children and their families can turn to Inn from the Cold for hope and help. For almost twenty years, Inn from the Cold has operated as an agency of last resort for those children and their families who find themselves with no place else to go. We go far beyond the provision of basic needs and offer shelter, sanctuary, and healing through an integrated continuum of services. Our door is open 24/7, 365 days a year and we turn no family away.

Inn from the Cold was born out of the kindness, love, and compassion for those in need by a small group of concerned Calgarians. In 2017 we forge into our 20th year of supporting homeless children and their families and work towards our vision of a community where no child or family is homeless.

Anna’s Experience on the Frontlines

Written by Anna, Senior Manager of Programs, at Inn from the Cold

When a family arrives at our Emergency Family Shelter, they go through a standard intake process. They go through a registration screening, they are assigned a family advocate and then they have more assessments. This however, is a behind the scenes look at the impact our shelter staff have on the families at Inn from the Cold. Our staff encompass a multitude of roles within their titles. They are a childcare worker, listener, advisor, referee, advocate, humanitarian, authoritarian; and the list goes on.

Anna, Senior Manager of Programs, at Inn from the Cold

The decisions that are made within these walls are different for each individual family, parent and child. The work of our frontline staff is not for the faint of heart; no rules or regulations are cut and dry. Every child and individual is different so we adjust our thinking and decisions based on each and every one of the roughly 100 people who call Inn from the Cold their home on any given night.

For me personally, my role has been one that is meant to stay strong and supportive so that our staff can take a few minutes behind closed doors to protect the other children and families from seeing a screaming child. Or, giving those same staff the few moments they need to wipe the tears from their eyes behind those same doors, tears that I have to save for when I walk out the front doors and head home.

Giving Warm Hearts

At Inn from the Cold, we have launched our Warm Hearts campaign this holiday season. We are seeking cash donations and gifts-in-kind for the people we assist. This includes everything from new clothing, coats, shoes, and accessories. All sizes are needed from 0 months up to 12 years old for children, and 12 years old up to adult women and men 3XL.

When it comes to our youngest guests, we collect baby formula, baby bottles, diapers, wipes, baby blankets, new strollers and car seats —really, anything you need to take care of a baby or toddler. Among other most needed items, we also accept non-perishable food items, grocery store gift cards and hygiene and houseware supplies to maintain a household.

To learn more about Inn from the Cold, or to make a donation, please visit their Charity Profile Page.

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