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Benefit helps Community Inn continue its service

When the Community Inn opened in September 2009, there was one guest there to spend the night.
Since that opening night, more than 800 men, women and children without homes have sought refuge at the Inn.

“We had folks coming to us when we were just operating our Transitional Housing Program saying, ‘I don’t need a 6-month program, I need somewhere to stay tonight,’ ” Executive Director Skeet Ayscue said. “The Stanly Baptist Association, Stanly Community Christian Ministry and Homes of Hope got together to work on an overnight emergency shelter in order to reach out to more people in need. Bob Odom and Carl Helms were instrumental in pushing for the Community Inn.”

After clearing zoning requirements that were established and met, and the renovation of the other side of the Community Table was completed by Clark Construction, the Community Inn has been a place where Stanly County residents who need a bed, and community volunteers wanting to help, can meet.

“It’s amazing that so many people want to help with meals at the Community Inn,” said meal coordinator Jana Sanderson. “Sometimes we can’t fit volunteers in for a couple of months. Many churches and other groups provide a meal, two or three times a month.”

Volunteers also provide cleaning supplies, food, clothing, books, videos, toiletries and other useful items.

“This outreach is really a community effort,” said Mark Harris, manager of the Community Inn. “We couldn’t serve the large number of folks needing help without the assistance of so many.”

During the renovation of the Community Inn and Community Table a couple of years ago, several volunteers helped with repairs and painting of the original portion of the building to match the new addition.

First Lutheran Church took in guests for several months for the duration of the renovation period and provided transportation to the YMCA for showers. They continue to serve meals on a regular basis at the Inn.

A bed, shower and meals are not the only thing provided at the Community Inn.
Tiera McDonald, program director, spends several evening hours at the Inn providing case management for the guests.

“We would like to find a housing solution for everyone who stays at the Community Inn,” McDonald said. “That’s not always possible, but we hope to assist with a real plan toward that end before they leave. We do have many wonderful success stories that keep us motivated.”

One of the ways the Community Inn is funded is through its annual barbecue fundraiser, cooked by the Good Ole’ Boys.

This year’s fundraiser will be from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Friday at West Albemarle Baptist Church. Diners can eat-in, drive through or have five or more plates delivered.

Buying tickets ahead will save some money. Plates and 1-pound containers of barbecue are $8, and a 6.5-pound tray is $48.

On the day of the event, plates and 1-pound containers are $10, and a 6.5-pound tray is $55.

Tickets are available at the Homes of Hope office, 1816 E. Main St., Albemarle, during the day, or at the Community Inn during the evening at 510 S. First St. Or call 908-866-8259 and tickets will be delivered to you.

“All of us at the Community Inn greatly appreciate all those in the community willing to assist the many in need in so many ways,” Ayscue said.