2020 Connect-by-Night Needs

In this year where so much has been affected and changed by COVID-19, we will be adapting our Connect by Night experience as well. While we cannot lodge guests in the church building this year, we will still be providing some meals at the facility in Upper Darby where they will be sheltering . In addition, we will be providing supplies in the form of gift bags for 25 individuals The deadline for collection is Tuesday, December 15, so that there is time to assemble the bags and fill in gaps where needed.

Items Needed – 25 of each:

  • Canvas tote – the sturdy kind, preferably from area college, university or medical facility, making them long-lasting, easily identified by the recipient as their own, and a fitting replacement for plastic bag luggage.
  • Poncho
  • Socks
  • Disposable Razors
  • Hand Towel
  • Wash Cloth
  • Gloves
  • Small hand cream
  • Chapstick
  • Tissues (box or wrapped personal size)
  • Candy
  • Cards from Children
  • Toothpaste
  • Mouthwash (non-alcoholic only)
  • Books
  • Puzzles

You may elect to provide all 25 of any item, or any combination of the above.

Additional items going in bags (already donated):

  • Seasonal ornament
  • Face masks
  • Scarves/hats

The following is a list of equipment Director Timmi Kilgore has requested for a gym area that is being set up at the facility. These items can be new or gently used:

  • Treadmill
  • Yoga mats
  • Yoga video
  • Hula hoops
  • Ankle/wrist weights (no free weights)
  • Stretching bands
  • Jump ropes

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A Note from the (Former) Rector: History of Connect-by-Night at Holy Apostles

by the Rev. Steve Snider (Rector 1991-2006)

We began sheltering circa 1994, I think it was, with a group of interdenominational parishes coordinated by an organization called Shepherd’s Place. Sally Griffith, now a parishioner of Holy Trinity Rittenhouse Square, alerted us to the organization and affected the marriage between CHA and Shepherd’s Place. We signed on and a core group of parish volunteers quickly expanded to the numbers you have today. I advocated and Sally was our first coordinator by default! She did a great job. Looking through the 2006 directory, the year I retired from CHA, I count 40+ families or individuals who stepped up to host and prepare bag lunches, drinks, sanitize, etc. Many of them are still helping today. I also remember our earliest volunteers now departed: Win Becker, Sr., Peter Cadwallader, Bonnie Davis, Ray Dyer, Bob & Carole Moore, Vince Raimondo, Harry Sibley, Sandy Smith, Gene Stivers, and I hope for forgiveness for missing anyone else.

Prior to our first year of hosting, we sent flyers around the neighborhood and the result was predictable. Some neighbors called to complain; some anonymously called the township resulting in a surprise inspection, albeit with an apology from the inspector; some called and offered to help. Ultimately, we had many more neighborhood helpers than complainers. After the first couple of years the nay-sayers stopped saying, well, ‘nay’.

When we first began, we were assigned winter months, and thus helped to save many from freezing on the streets. We needed to put a hold on our involvement in 1999 when the parish hall underwent re-construction. When we re-joined the rota for the month of July, which worked well since we had just installed air-conditioning in the parish hall.  We have been helping people avoid heat related catastrophes ever since.

At some point in the mid-90’s, Shepherd’s Place ceased to exist and the sheltering operation came under the auspices of Connect-By-Night social services in Upper Darby. Largely, CHA and other parishes hosted the overflow from the permanent shelter located at 63rd & Market in Upper Darby. That shelter was overwhelmed by the first year of its opening. At first our guests – numbering from 25 to 60 people each night – included children, most often with their mothers and sometimes with both parents/partners. In time, the children began to disappear for an assortment of reasons, some of them good.

I am so pleased and give thanks to God that CHA continues in this life-saving outreach. By my count 2018 marks the 24rd year in this sacred endeavor…anyway, that’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.

Steve+