Epiphany concert supports ‘homeless helpers’

Read on, and learn the critical need filled by the Daybreak Shelter, with help from the community …

During the 2015 Epiphany Concert to benefit the Daybreak Shelter Network, the Colonial Heights Presbyterian Church Choir sings.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

As has been the case for many years, on the second Sunday of the New Year, choirs again gathered for an “Epiphany Concert” to benefit the Daybreak Shelter Network, a unique collaboration between Human Solutions and 30 area faith congregations.

It took place on January 11 this year in the Mill Park neighborhood.

“We enjoy having this program at our church,” remarked Gethsemane Lutheran Church Pastor Tom Hiller. “It’s wonderful to hear the choirs from other churches; our choir is definitely an important part of our own ministry.”

Welcoming guests and musicians to the program was the staff of Human Solutions, including Executive Director Jean DeMaster.

The need to shelter homeless families is year ’round, says Human Solutions Executive Director Jean DeMaster.

“This is wonderful,” DeMaster said. “I came here in 2003, and these concerts predated me. The originator was Charlie Ross, who retired from the First Congregational Church.

“The Daybreak Shelter is one of the very few homeless family shelters that keeps families together, and is the only one in mid County that is completely secular,” DeMaster told East Portland News. “Daybreak Shelter is open seven days a week, throughout the year, to meet the needs of homeless families in our community.”

In a larger sense, the Daybreak Shelter is important to the mission of Human Solutions, DeMaster said, “Because we work to get any person or family who doesn’t have shelter an indoor place where they can begin the process of rebuilding their lives. Families with young children are very vulnerable; we work to give them a safe place to stay.”

The Ascension Catholic Church Choir performs “Calypso Lullaby”.

In addition to the support of the 30 churches and synagogues, DeMaster said they rely on donations of new blankets, jackets, hygiene items, and food for families. “Sometimes, we must provide nearly everything a homeless family needs to be comfortable and safe, and able to go back to work again.”

The Epiphany Concert raised $2,500 for the Daybreak Shelter Network. However, you need not attend a special fundraising event to help out too, Demaster said.

Members of the Parkrose United Methodist Church lend their voices during the concert to help the Daybreak Shelter Network.

Even easier than buying items and taking them to Human Solutions, people can simply go online to donate funds to support Daybreak, and its temporary Winter Shelter. “We want to help every family that needs it – as many as 400 homeless families in outer East Portland – every single night,” DeMaster concluded.

Learn how you can help by visiting the Human Solutions website: CLICK HERE.

© 2015 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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