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Food for the Soul opens shelter

Providing for the homeless

Posted: November 15, 2011 3:12 p.m.
Updated: November 16, 2011 5:00 a.m.

Food for the Soul, the Camden-based ministry to the county’s hungry and homeless, announced that Jimmy B. Farmer has been named Shelter Manager. Farmer will manage the overnight winter shelter program, which opened for the first time last week.

The overnight shelter program offers homeless people a safe and warm place to stay when outside temperatures are very cold. Farmer will also work at providing temporary emergency shelter for individuals and families in crisis.

Since opening the shelter last Thursday, Farmer said things have gone "smoothly."

Farmer is a graduate of the S. C. Criminal Justice Academy and recently retired from the S.C. Department of Probation and Parole after more than 25 years. More recently he has served as community service coordinator for the Alston Wilkes Society in Camden, which assists offenders and ex-offenders, the homeless and their families, and veterans in rebuilding their lives for a safer community.

Food for the Soul Board of Directors and staff members said they are confident that Farmer’s qualifications and professional background will enable him to maintain discipline while showing compassion in helping their guests improve their situations.

Food for the Soul’s winter shelter is now open whenever nightly lows are forecast to be 36 degrees or below. Farmer is assisted by direct care staff from the Kershaw County Board of Disabilities and Special Needs and by local volunteers. Shelter guests are received at an intake station and assigned to a sleep area.

"Our goal is to make sure everyone has a warm, safe place to sleep at night," Farmer said. "My job is to assist those who are homeless, to be here at night and provide them with the essentials."

The shelter will operate for overnight guests from 7:30 p.m. to 7 a.m. Shower facilities and clothes washers and dryers are available for use and guests are offered a hygiene kit including soap, toothpaste, deodorant, etc.. Early evening volunteers assist with these accommodations and serve a light evening meal. Overnight volunteers arrive later to stay through the night, serve a light breakfast, and organize the morning exit from the shelter.

Farmer joins Food Service Manager Mable Brevard and Director Fred Ogburn on staff. In addition to the sheltering programs, Food for the Soul operates a soup kitchen which is currently feeding an average of 50 to 80 people a day, and provides daytime services for the homeless on a year-round basis.

"Increased services offered by Food for the Soul make financial and supply donations, and volunteer support, more vitally important than ever," Ogburn said. Phone 432-4771 to make a donation or volunteer for the shelter, or for more information. Shelter volunteers are trained by professionals in the areas of health (including first aid and CPR); mental health as it relates specifically to the homeless; and are acquainted with policies, procedures, and behavioral guidelines for shelter operation as well as the mission and values of the organization. You may visit the Food for the Soul Center from 9 a.m.- 2 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays at 110A East DeKalb Street, behind the United Way/Holsten Center. Visit the organization online at www.foodforthesoulkc.org or on Facebook.

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