Amid all the fun of the organization’s annual dinner and entertainment benefit Friday night, Shepherd’s House Board of Director’s President Jason Pike put the purpose behind the fun simply —it’s about neighbors helping neighbors.
“We feel we’ve got the message out that Shepherd’s House is Surry County’s homeless shelter,” Pike said. “There is a tradition here. We help out our own. This is an important message everyone gets. This is our major fundraiser of the year. We are 95 percent community funded. We run off donations and we are looking to raise 25 percent of our operating budget off the proceeds from tonight.”
Pike reported around 260 dinner tickets had been sold for the event with more than 325 people attending the gathering at Cross Creek Country Club. The benefit also featured a silent auction and a drawing for a quilt.
Executive Director Phil Goble praised the volunteers who helped with tasks including working tables at the event, decorating the ballroom, operating the ticket drum, sponsorship of a table and even purchasing the drawdown tickets for the $10,000 grand prize drawing. He said there is no way the group could do what it does without community support. Goble also said the tough economic times locally continue.
“We are seeing more families and more single parents with kids,” said Goble. “A lot of people were displaced by the downturn and one thing we try to do is get people back on their feet. This has gotten tougher, though. Previously, we were able to help clients get full time work even though we are a 90-day program but with the economy now we are lucky to be able to help get them one or sometimes more than one part-time job. That’s had an impact on us.”
Pike emphasized that giving in spite of lean times makes the organization even more appreciative of the community support it received for the benefit, which has been held for 13 years. The Shepherd’s House has been open since April 2003 and came about through the vision of the late David Simmons and others in Mount Airy,
Through November 2013 the home had helped 1,400 people with 850 of those being women with 516 children helped. The group has served 118,863 meals, provided 39,621 nights of shelter and provided 2,846 hours of counseling. It serves clients from Surry, Stokes, Yadkin, Wilkes, Forsyth, Guilford and several other counties in North Carolina and several counties in Virginia.
Pike said one major effort the group is looking towards is meeting increasing need with a larger, better equipped shelter. The current one will house 16 people and the group would like to expand to serve 24 at a time. Towards this end Pike said they are seeking people, businesses. churches and civic groups to join “FAB 500.”
He explained the group is seeking 500 groups to give $1,000 in the course of the next five years, which he said works out to $200 a year or $3.85 a week. The expectation is to break ground on the new facility for the 15th anniversary of the organization in 2018. Information on the effort may be obtained by calling the Shepherd’s House at 336-786-1420 or by emailing them at email@example.com.
David Broyles may be reached at 336-325-1952 or on twitter@MtAiryNewsDave.