Socks, razors, coats and more: York shelter needs them all


The York Rescue Mission, which operates two homeless shelters — one for men and one for women and children — could use donations of socks.

Socks, like underwear, are less commonly donated than many items, said Pastor Dan Kemper, director of the mission's men's shelter. But it's important that the mission have them on hand.

"If you've been out for a while (wearing the same socks) and your feet hurt and start to feel bad, that's miserable," he said.

Razors are another hot commodity, mission Interim Executive Director Matt Carey said, showing an empty box where shaving razors previously had been collected.

The men's shelter, 367 W. Market St., York City, provides showers as well as beds to those who need them, and small containers of personal-care products such as shampoo, deodorant, soap and lotion are in demand as well.

Coats and sweatshirts are needed, too, Carey said, and the demand for them will rise in the coming months.

Preparing for winter: Last January, volunteers and county officials counted 42 unsheltered homeless people when they did a one-time count, said Jessica Mockabee, assistant director of the York County Human Services Department.

The Annual Homeless Assessment Report, which includes all in York who, at some point during the year, lack stable housing and need a place to stay, registered a count of 2,336 in the period between Oct. 1, 2013, and Sept. 30, 2014. The 2014-15 count hasn't come in yet, Mockabee said.

The rescue mission is gearing up for the winter, Carey said. Although the men's shelter wasn't at capacity Sunday night, he said — only about half of the shelter's 20 beds for transient residents were filled — he expects the shelters to be more full more often in the winter months.

Besides the simple need to sleep in a warm place, more Yorkers need the mission's services during the colder months because heating costs go up in winter.

"Families have to make a decision: Do I pay my heating bill or do I feed? We're here to help them feed," Carey said.

The mission served 185,000 meals last year, he said. The organization serves breakfast, lunch and dinner to residents and the public every day at the men's shelter, plus another meal after its nightly chapel service.

About 45 residents are part of the mission's Spiritual Life Recovery Program, upstairs, while there are 20 beds on the first floor to accommodate men who are just passing through and need temporary shelter.

The mission received 100 donated cots on Monday, Carey said, and with all the space it has in the worship area and cafeteria, it can house many more should the need arise.

How to help: Through an annual food drive, during which it works together with the Water Street Rescue Mission in Lancaster and the Bethesda Mission in Harrisburg, the York Rescue Mission aims to acquire 225,000 pounds of food.

All food collected in York County will stay in this community, Carey said. People can drop off donations of food at the shelter's food storage facility, 371 W. Clark Ave., preferably during business hours.

Nonperishables — canned and dry foods — are welcome, and donations of frozen meat are much appreciated.

"You can never have enough meat," Kemper said.

During the food drive, which will run from Nov. 1 to Dec. 20, bags of donated food can be dropped off at the mission or any Turkey Hill, M&T Bank or Sharp Shopper in York, Lancaster, Dauphin or Cumberland counties.

Coming up are two festive "Stuff the Truck" events: one from 5 p.m. until 8 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 6, at the intersection of Beaver and Market streets, York City, and the other from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 21, at Santander Stadium's Brooks Robinson Plaza. Perishable foods are welcome at the second event but not the first, and those who want to help should not donate anything in a glass container.

The Bell Family Shelter, 852 E. Market St., also supplies food and shelter to needy families. The shelter, which houses families for 30 days at a time, has a "very thick" binder of families waiting for a spot, program coordinator Felice Day said.

Demand grows in winter, she said, and the shelter seeks donations of canned and dry goods and baby food and formula. Linens for twin-size beds, towels and blankets also are needed.

"We do accept secondhand stuff, but we ask that it be in fairly good condition," Day said. Donated food items may not be out of date, she said.

People also can help the shelter by donating household items to the secondhand store that partners with Bell, Re-Source York. Re-Source York has two locations: one at 405 Carlisle Ave., York City, and one at 161 E. Ninth Ave., North York.

Christmas Cheer

Next week, families who want to receive a holiday food box and toys for their children ages 1 through 10 can sign up at the Salvation Army Chapel, 124 S. Duke St., York City.

Registration for the Christmas Cheer Distribution list will take place Oct. 26-30 from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m. each day. An evening registration session will take place on Oct. 28 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Families must be registered for the distribution.

Families who want to be included on the list for this year should bring photo ID (for adults), proof of York County residence, Social Security cards for everyone in the household and proof of age for children born between Jan. 1, 2005, and Dec. 31, 2014.

On Dec. 21 and 22, families on the list will get a box of food, and young children will receive toys collected through the Angel Tree Program.

—Reach Julia Scheib at