The Daniel Pitino Shelter, established in 1994 at 501 Walnut Street, was created to address the increase in homelessness in the area and provide housing and community services to help individuals get back on their feet.
The shelter is a non-profit, non-denominational, privately-supported shelter that offers clients emergency and transitional housing, provides meals, directs to aids in physical, mental and emotional needs. The shelter serves as a secure safe haven for homeless families.
Case Manager, Andrea Payne said the shelter has the capacity to serve 65 individuals (single women and families) in the main facility, 50 transitional (15 family rooms), 15 emergency, and 4 single-family homes that are located on the Pitino Shelter Campus. During the most recent fiscal year, 350 individuals received assistance from the shelter.
The soup kitchen operates 365 days a year, serving coffee and donuts beginning at 8 a.m., lunch beginning at 11 a.m. Monday through Saturday and is open to the community, not just residents of the shelter.
“Nobody wants to be homeless,” Payne said. “But we can’t always pick and choose our circumstances.”
She said she encourages clients to try not to get frustrated and often reminds them of the benefits of being at the Daniel Pitino Shelter.
“This is the best place to get back on your feet,” Payne reminds the residents. “You have so many community resources available.”
Payne said each week residents are offered a wide range of resources, from parenting classes and assistance with budgeting, to educational and job opportunities.
The shelter still seeks the community’s help in donating items throughout the year, during all months and seasons. However, during the winter months, the shelter sees an increased need for specific items such as coffee and sugar, for those who “want to come in from the cold and have a warm drink.”
In addition, they are also seeking socks for men, women and children, as well as medium-sized coats and underwear. Payne said hygiene products are an ongoing need for the residents.
The operation relies on the kindness of the community for donations, but Payne said they also love to host volunteers. The best hours to volunteer are Monday through Friday, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. to assist in the soup kitchen with serving and clean-up, and help with organizing donations.
For more information about volunteering, donating or to sponsor a family, please contact the Daniel Pitino Shelter at 270-688-9000 or visit the shelter online at www.pitinoshelter.org