In January of 2017, as temperatures dropped to dangerously cold, Grace Lutheran Church got a call asking if there was any way we could open our doors for a few folks to sleep in a safe, warm place instead of on the streets or in their cars. There may have been 100 reasons to say no. We said yes.
Grace leadership had already been engaged in conversation about the reality of homelessness in Dakota County, and as individuals found a mattress here, we were confronted with that reality once more. Graciousness and generosity showed up during those days, but that wasn’t the end of the need.
This winter, alongside other congregations in Dakota County, we’re opening our doors again. In partnership with other churches, Dakota County, and Matrix Housing Services, a rotating emergency shelter plan has been put in place for this winter.
We need help, both here at Grace and throughout the season. Below you’ll find key ways that anyone can get involved; giving of time, talent, and treasure to live out God’s call to take care of those in deep need.
Help at the Matrix Emergency Shelter
If you or your group are interested in donating supplies for the shelter, you can see what we currently need via the button below or this link here.
This site also includes information about where and when you can drop off supplies. Please check this site regularly because it will be updated as our needs change throughout the winter.
It will cost $1300/per day to operate the shelter. As many of you are aware, Dakota County has contracted with us for a portion of the expenses in operating the shelter, but our fundraising efforts continue. We need your financial support to make this shelter a reality! You can make a donation by sending a check payable to Matrix Housing Services, 2929 4th Avenue S, Suite 210, Minneapolis, MN 55408, or at the Matrix website via the button below.
Serve Dinner at the Shelter
We need groups to plan, purchase, and prepare a meal for 60 people, serve it at 7:00 p.m. at the shelter, and clean up afterward. Typically, group members have time to eat dinner with shelter guests. If your group wants to sign up to serve dinner, the coordinator should sign up using the button below.
Help at the Shelter
Evening shelter aids are at the shelter 5:45 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. to help open the shelter, check in guests, distribute supplies, visit with guests, and assist staff with cleaning and other duties. Overnight shelter aids are at the shelter 10:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. to help staff with setting out breakfast, waking guests, doing laundry and other cleaning, and closing the shelter. There is typically time to sleep during the overnight shift. Sign up for one or more shelter aid shifts using the button.
All people interested in volunteering as a shelter aid must pass a background check and attend a volunteer training. You can sign up for shelter aid shifts after your scheduled volunteer training. Sign up for a training below.
Most of our shelter sites do not have facilities to manage the volume of laundry generated by the shelter. Volunteers are needed to launder linens and towels in their homes. There will be about two loads of laundry each day.
Laundry squad volunteer instructions: Pick up laundry at the shelter between 7:15 and 8:00 am on the date for which you have signed up. Wash, dry, and fold the laundry. Return the laundry within two days during regular shelter hours (6:00 p.m – 8:00 a.m.).
Matrix Emergency Shelter for Dakota County is a rotating overnight shelter that will operate from November through April. Thank you for volunteering to help feed and care for people experiencing homelessness. We appreciate your time and generosity which make this effort possible.
This sign up is for moving crew. Volunteers will pack up all shelter supplies and help move them to the next location. We will have a large truck available for each move. Volunteers are also encouraged to bring pickups, minivans, and SUVs if available.