As the temperatures in the northeast continue to steadily decrease this winter, it is an especially dangerous time for the homeless population in our area. In 2014, Hudson County had 6 percent of New Jersey’s statewide homeless population, which translates to about 820 homeless individuals, a number many consider underreported. Rather than be bystanders, AvePoint employees wanted to help the situation in any way possible, and decided to dedicate their time and services at The Hoboken Shelter on Wednesday, February 18.
The Hoboken Shelter is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and is always in need of volunteers and donations to help them in their mission to provide meals, shelter, and supportive services to the homeless. Not only do they serve 500 meals daily, but they also provide counseling, job, and life skills training, and even creative workshops in an effort to help people get back on their feet.
After coordinating with Keith J., one of the case managers who has been with the shelter for more than three years, AvePoint arrived on site and was quickly put to work by Chef Q – the lead chef at the shelter. While the main dish of roasted chicken, rice, and black beans was already prepared, the chef needed some help with chopping salad, as well as slicing pastries and bread so that they were ready to serve.
As several employees sharpened their culinary skills, additional team members were in the main room getting ready for the lunch crowd. Together, they cleaned and set the tables, swept the floor, and sorted donations into more readily accessible groups.
By the time the kitchen was cleaned, the supply closet reorganized, pamphlets folded, and additional donations sorted, it was serving time! Keith split the room into thirds, calling up each group one at a time so everyone could be served.
When lunch was finished, we were all invited to participate in a question and answer session with those who dined at the shelter. This was a humbling experience, as we shared a little about ourselves, and learned about the people there.
While the shelter serves the homeless, it is also a resource to those who may have an apartment, but cannot afford to buy food after all their bills are paid. The Hoboken Shelter tries to assist in any way possible, and really works to stretch their budget, which is why donations and volunteers are essential. We definitely plan on returning in the future!
To learn more about the cause and volunteer, please visit The Hoboken Shelter’s website.