You might have seen the sign outside Calvary Baptist in Scottsboro or heard some talk about Room In The Inn and wondered what it was all about.
Room In The Inn is a great way for Christians in Jackson County to respond to Christ’s call to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and welcome the stranger. Jackson County churches of all denominations band together in the winter months to provide a warm place to sleep and three meals for the homeless. Participating churches take turns hosting our Guests overnight in their fellowship halls.
“It may sound complicated, but it’s actually pretty simple,” said Shane Small, director. “Potential guests come to Calvary Baptist every day to register. If they are accepted after a background check from B&B Reporting, the host church for that night transports them from Calvary to their church where dinner is provided.”
“B&B Reporting and attorney, William Talley have been invaluable to us,” he said. “We are very careful who is allowed into the program because that is how we protect our host churches and volunteers.”
Congregation members are encouraged to share the meal with the guests.
“This may be the only time all day a guest has been treated as a person worthy of respect and caring,” Small said. “Volunteers from the host church stay overnight to host the guests. In the morning, the host church provides breakfast, lunch and transportation back to Calvary. The next night a different church acts as host. There is always a Room In The Inn, and there is always a coordinator on call to answer any questions.”
This past winter 17 churches participated.
From December 2015 through March 2016, Room In The Inn provided 659 cumulative nights of shelter and 1,989 meals to 39 guests.
“We had 5 children among our guests,” Small said, “including a five-month-old baby.”
While it is not part of the official work of Room In The Inn, some volunteers are moved to help guests in other ways, such as finding jobs and housing.
“One guest was helped with cataract surgery so he could get a job,” Small said. “A caring volunteer got in touch with a mission friend who helps children with eye problems and he provided the services needed at no cost, just the cost of the materials used. As this man was being transported back to Scottsboro, he looked at the sky and said, ‘I can see!’”
He is now a working member of the community and is doing very well, according to Small. All thanks to the help and care of loving individuals doing the work of Christ.
“You can help as a host church, sending volunteers to a church in need of help, providing food or volunteering to fill in where needed,” Small said.” Room In The Inn will provide training. And one of our coordinators or myself will be more than happy to come to your church and explain everything about the program.
“This has warmed my heart more than anything I’ve ever done in my whole life,” Small said. “This is our third year, and we are doing this because it’s what Christ put us here for – to serve. We currently have 16 churches helping out, but it would be great if we could get enough churches to have one for each night of the month.
“Pastors, please talk to your congregation about this extremely important need, and open your hearts to people who have no one else to turn to,” he said.
For more information, contact Shane Small, director of Room In The Inn at: 256-599-9335.
ROOM IN THE INN
All of you believed in me
when I didn’t believe in myself
I was beaten down and broken
and I had nothing left
Sitting in a room full of strangers
who later became my friends
Now I believe with all my heart
you’ll be there ‘til the end
I’ll never forget your kindness
and all the concern that was shown
How all of you prayed for me
when I felt so alone
I don’t know where I’m going
but I know where I’ve been
and I’ll never forget the time I spent
at Room in the Inn
— Garry Privett
A guest of Room in the Inn