Responding to the Winter Needs of the Homeless and Food Insecure in our Communities 

In the cold winter months of winter, especially the during the frigid nights January through March, the number of homeless and/or food insecure people in Eastern Sussex County may surprise you. 

Thankfully, through multiple partnerships between nonprofit organizations and several churches, there is hope and comfort for those who are disadvantaged. And many of these groups are in a perpetual search for volunteers and material donations such as food and warm winter clothing and blankets. Here, we highlight a few of the organizations you may consider becoming involved with. 

Love in the Name of Christ, or Love INC is one such organization that has successfully created a network of Delmarva churches that open their doors temporarily in the winter to those seeking shelter and safety. 

In Lewes, St. Jude the Apostle Catholic Church provides overnight accommodations and transportation to homeless men through Love INC’s Code Purple network program. Volunteer opportunities are available, including hosting (staying with) these men overnight in the church’s auxiliary building from December 1st until March 15th.  

There are also volunteers who provide transportation to the church in the evening or morning. Much needed winter wear and blankets are welcome donations, which can be dropped off at the Parish office during certain hours. For more information and a volunteer application, contact St. Jude’s Volunteer Services

Two other area churches that are also involved with Code Purple and other ministries to help the homeless and families in need of assistance include Lutheran Church of Our Savior in Rehoboth Beach, and Georgetown Presbyterian Church

An innovative nonprofit organization primarily based in Rehoboth Beach is Lighthouse for Broken Wings. It is not a shelter, but instead supports families and others struggling to make ends meet on a temporary basis. Their model is designed to help individuals get back on their feet through personal development, such as personal counseling, pursuing education and health coaching.  

Run entirely by volunteers, Lighthouse accepts donations, and welcomes volunteers for activities such as dropping off homemade prepared meals to family residents every Tuesday and Thursday evenings at the Red Mill Inn on Coastal Highway in Lewes. The majority of guests are single mothers with young children.  

Lighthouse and its “Sheltering Heart” program was founded by Toni Short, a registered nurse who once was homeless herself. She works tirelessly, seven days a week helping residents in need do everything from finish a degree program, find daycare for working parents, and even help prevent children from being taken by Child Protective Services.  Learn more information by emailing

Georgetown’s Shepherd’s Office is a combination shelter and food pantry. Many of its guests unfortunately live in nearby woods, and the majority are Spanish speaking. Volunteers who are fluent in Spanish are in great need, as are donations of non-perishable foods for its pantry, and warm winter clothing and blankets. Shepherd’s Office, too welcome cooks to help provide hot meals on site. 

 In these colder months, have a warm heart and consider volunteering for, or donating to these often-overlooked individuals who struggle to survive. Especially in our area, where housing is a crisis for a surprising number of residents. 

Bridget FitzPatrick 

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