Taking Care of the Shore’s Neighbors: It Just Takes a Heart

Love shapes the ministry, love transforms people, and hope prevails at Haven Ministries.  Haven Ministries, a non-profit, faith-based organization is comprised of 14 local churches committed to making a difference, and providing hope through shelter, clothing, and food.  The organization operates on the premise of showing God’s love to the poor within the community by providing essential services.

Central to the organization’s mission is its seasonal Homeless Shelter located at the Kent Island United Methodist Church in Stevensville, open October through April for residents of Queen Anne’s County. The emergency, winter homeless shelter is open to men, women, and children.  Services include meals, clothing, case management services, and other life necessities. Haven Ministries served 27 guests at its designated space at Kent Island United Methodist Church at 2739 Cox Neck Road in Chester last season.

Shelter sleeping

The Shelter was full or near capacity for much of the season last year and had occasion to turn away individuals due to full capacity conditions.  The organization has identified the need for a more permanent affordable Housing Assistance Program and has a short-term goal to find a home or property for its Housing Assistance Program, with a longer-term goal of acquiring or purchasing a home to accommodate its guests.  Krista Pettit, Executive Director of Haven Ministries comments, “The next step for many of our guests is for more long-term housing, until more permanent housing becomes available for them.”

Haven Ministries Resource Center, located at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Centreville, Monday through Friday, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. is often the first stop for those in need in Queen Anne’s County. Assistance is offered here in the way of financial counseling, job training, and wellness, as well as limited pastoral counseling and enrichment classes. The Resource Center’s classes are meeting the growing needs of the community, including everything from budget and financial workshops to empowerment workshops for recovering addicts. Financial support for these services is made possible from contributions from area churches to Haven Ministries Church Fund. According to Pettit, “There is something for everyone. We are also trying to connect with community organizations that might want to bring their clients to benefit from some of our classes, including recovery groups, social services organizations, health departments, schools and nonprofits.”

Other services offered by Haven Ministries include The Haven Ministries Food Pantries which are held on the third Friday monthly at Safe Harbor Presbyterian Church in Stevensville and at a second location at Centreville United Methodist Church at 608 Church Hill Road in Centreville from 5:30 to 7 p.m. The Pantries partner with the Maryland Food bank to provide a variety of healthy food choices every month.

Haven Ministries Our Daily Thread Thrift Store is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Safe Harbor Presbyterian Church in Stevensville, offering clothing and household goods at deeply discounted prices.

Haven Ministries has just opened a new warehouse, Hope Warehouse, offering used appliances, furniture and building supplies for purchase in Queenstown. The sales of items at a reduced cost to the public will support Haven Ministries other ministries in the community, including its street outreach. Hope Warehouse also provides a Retail Training Program that complements its Resource Center in Centreville, helping with job training and placement in the community for individuals trying to get back on their feet in the community. Hope Warehouse is open Thursday through Saturday, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Haven Ministries utilizes over 200 volunteers working, in a variety of roles, including the Homeless Shelter, Food Pantries, Thrift Store, Warehouse, and Resource Center.  Volunteers also help with Haven Ministries annual fundraisers like benefit concerts, Women’s Weekend, Tea, Girlfriend’s Weekend, Run 4 Shelter, Golf Tournament, and Wine and Windows events.  Haven Ministries Volunteer Coordinator Karen Bardwell coordinates and trains the volunteers. She also works with church coordinators from participating area churches seven days a week from October through April each year to staff each day’s Homeless Shelter schedule.

Pettit concludes, “Because of the financial contribution, time commitment, and donation of goods and services by members of our community, countless men, women, and children have received shelter, connections to jobs and skills training, transportation to important appointments, clothing for family members, street outreach services, and nourishment through food and spiritual care. God has been faithful through our efforts as we now have over 100 Friends and over 60 business partners. We hope in the coming year to move our ministry forward as we diligently seek to purchase property for a housing assistance program.  I am confident that HOPE will continue to prevail in our community.”