The Shepherd Place welcomes donations in the new year

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Sandra Melgarejo fixes plates for herself and her children Thursday night courtesy of a Samaritan. The holiday dinner for all guests at The Shepherd Place in Dover was catered by U.S. 13 Grill Catering. (Special To The Delaware State News/Gary Emeigh)

DOVER — For more than 25 years, the Shepherd Place has worked to help women and children in need.

Located on South Governors Avenue, the Shepherd Place provides housing, food and basic job training for the homeless. It can house up to 30 women, as well as their dependents, at one time and is currently full.

Providing its services for free, the shelter relies on donations to keep helping women and children, and workers stress that anything is appreciated.

On New Year’s Eve, the residents received some special charity: a catered meal.

U.S. 13 Grill & Catering provided dinner, consisting turkey, ham, mashed potatoes and more, with an employee there to unload the food and do any necessary prep work.

Case manager Tasha Scott called the donation “amazing,” saying the shelter is always in need of assistance and is particularly eager to accept food or someone willing to make a meal,

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Saraha Hall was one of the guests at The Shepherd Place in Dover treated to a full-course holiday dinner Thursday night.

“We often have groups who come in and cook but we’ve never had anybody that goes beyond that and have somebody cater,” she said.

Donations show the temporary residents, many of whom are struggling, hat they matter and people care, Ms. Scott said.

Thursday, women staying at the shelter expressed gratitude.

Sandra Melgarejo said it was “something special,” and Susan Blount said she was surprised to receive a catered meal.

The donation was paid for by George Chabbot, a Dover businessman who said he seeks to perform some acts of charity every year.

“I enjoy helping people at Christmas. I thought that’d be a good outfit,” he said.

The Shepherd Place welcomes all sorts of contributions, such as funding, toiletries, cleaning supplies and even just somebody’s time. The facility seeks to provide some career skills, such as how to write a resume, how to interview well and how to dress for a job, meaning people can contribute in ways besides donating supplies.

“If anybody out there has those kinds of skills we’re always looking for people to help,” Ms. Scott said.

For those in need, the Shepherd Place serves as a temporary respite that offers a roof, a bed and reassurance. It also has transitional housing, with a long waiting list, for women who are working, have no substance abuse issues and have a stable family in need.

Women can stay at the shelter for up to 90 days, receiving assistance to help them get back on their feet. The goal, said front/manager Michele Allen, is to help them become independent again by aiding them in finding housing and work.

Those looking to help can call the Shepherd Place at 678-1909.

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