Open Doors serves holiday meal as busy summer continues

Published: Jul. 5, 2022 at 10:14 AM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Open Doors Homeless Shelter in Harrisonburg served a special holiday for its guests on the Fourth of July. The Thomas House Restaurant in Dayton provided cook-out-style food for the guests to celebrate Independence Day.

Now in its second summer season, Open Doors said that an average of around 60 people are staying at the shelter in JMU’s old D-Hub building each night. Shelter staff said it’s important not to forget those in our community facing homelessness, especially around the holidays.

“We try and make it something special just because they’re experiencing homelessness. It doesn’t mean that they don’t want to experience the holidays like we who have homes do. So it’s important that we continue to provide that type of service to them,” said Open Doors Shelter Director Ashley Robinson.

Open Doors said its biggest needs at the moment are volunteers, food, and socks. The shelter will operate at JMU until August 15, but Open Doors will be running a permanent low barrier shelter in the future after the city bought land to build one in June.

“We’re excited because that means we can continue to provide these services for our guests. Not only that, but kind of create fewer barriers for them and hopefully have a collaborative effort with the other community stakeholders in our area that provide services for the population that we serve,” said Robinson.

There is no timeline for the construction of the permanent shelter. Open Doors is actively searching for a new location to operate out of temporarily after it leaves JMU on August 15.

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