Be Our Guests

“I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home.” 

When men come to Cityteam in need of shelter, we consider it an honor to provide a safe, clean place where they can eat, rest and gain the strength to find a fresh start for their lives. Jesus seemed to be very concerned about the physical wellbeing of the people he met, especially for those who were in distress and so that’s become a central part of how we take part in sharing His love with people.

“With dignity and respect.” We say this almost every day in our work here. ‘When you help someone, help in a way that preserves their dignity and shows them respect.’ So when we invite strangers, daily, into our “home” we want them to be greeted with kindness and hospitality.

There’s one part though, of our hospitality that has been a struggle. Rather than try to explain it, why don’t you just take a look here:

That was our shower and bathroom for the shelter on our second floor earlier this year. Yeah, you’re seeing it right. We had patched and repaired it so many times that we were down to only a couple of working showers, our sinks were being held up by buckets and well…we were using a sheet as a bathroom stall door. It was bad. And we knew it. But we run on very lean resources because all of our funding, 100% of it, comes from donations people give us. So we were trying to make it work with what we had.

But we reached a tipping point this year when the leaks from the bathroom continued to cause damage to our first floor and no amount of patch work could redeem it. We needed a miracle. Finding a contractor who wanted this kind of job in our neighborhood was daunting enough…let alone finding the money to pay for it. So we did all that we knew to do–we prayed and we asked people for help.

In only a few months’ time, a few generous individuals contributed enough money and materials so that we could completely gut and remodel our homeless shelter shower that serves up to 40 men every night. You won’t believe how it looks now..take a look at these after photos:

We keep saying here how it looks like the kind of bathroom you’d find at a luxurious spa. God provides over and over again for our ministry here. But there has been something really special about His provision for this project. As you walk through our building today, the nicest room to be found is also the place where people come from the streets, tired and dirty. Hospitality for the stranger. A fresh start for the wandering soul. Jesus’ promises come to life. Thanks, friends, for being part of something really good here.

Special thanks to the donors who made this renovation possible:

Speakman Company, Val Kanter, Dick & Betty Wilgus, Peter & Val McNeely, Proclamation Presbyterian Church, Grace Bible Fellowship, Scott & Trudy Orthley, and Anonymous.

We highly recommend Chris Goodman at C. Goodman Carpentry who completed this work.

—-Kwinn

Kwinn

Kwinn Tucker, City Director

A Father’s Story: Coming Back From a Life of Addiction

by Doug Black

“She won the lottery!”

He stopped me in the hall at Cityteam, holding his cell phone with the biggest, proudest grin.”Who?”, I asked. “My daughter! She won [a large amount] on her scratch-off ticket!”

He was excited. Whether or not you agree with playing the lottery, it’s pretty easy to get excited about a suitcase full of money. But, besides the money, he was excited about something else. “I’m so glad she’s provided for. Almost like God’s making up for what I couldn’t do.”

He relived the accounts of his time on the street. He told me how his wife would overlook his crack cocaine sales and stay home to take care of the kids. How he would make sure he wouldn’t use his own “product” like all the other guys. His plan to be a smart businessman, keeping from the arguments and gang violence that the other guys would get involved with.

He spent time telling me about how he began using crack “here and there” until it took control of his life. There were days he would wake up in an abandoned house, covered in his own filth and drug residue. His wife and kids, unaware of his location, would just wait and pray. Then, loud and heated discussions came once Daddy got home.

Until, ultimately, there was no home left to return to.

And that’s when he came to the Men’s Recovery Program at CityTeam. His attitude that kept him from interacting with folks in a happy manner dissipated. His lack of empathy that kept him far from his kids was washed away. Hours of hard work on his recovery, nights of praying to God for his addiction issues lead to a changed heart–and a new relationship with his family. One that continues to this day.

Addiction is a family destroyer; it doesn’t just break the bonds between family members, it decimates the emotional and physical strength of everyone involved. Typically, a male who uses drugs will find himself soon divorced, estranged from children, and ignored by other family members who deny they even know him.

Doug Headshot

Doug Black Recovery Manager at Cityteam

We’re grateful at Cityteam that we get to be part of the healing. Not just healing the body, but seeing souls mended. Witnessing finances come back on track, and broken families get pieced back together. Just like this man, who graduated our program, and returned back into his kids’ lives.

Click Here To See How Addiction Impacts Us All

Five Things About Cityteam Chester

PH_04.13.11_009Welcome to the Cityteam Chester Blog!  For our first post, we are sharing a few facts that you may not know about us.

 1. In 1989, before we even had a kitchen, our first ministry was serving one meal each week to hungry people in Chester.  Volunteers at Cityteam Chester prepared and served food to people sitting on milk crates at make-shift tables. Our cafeteria looks a little nicer these days and we now serve over 200 meals prepared in our kitchen every day.

2. Cityteam Chester is supported by over 500 volunteers and serves over 18,000 people each year. Everyone involved in Cityteam Chester has a unique story of how God is using them and changing their lives. Read my story here.

3. Each year, several families get to leave the urban environment of the busy city for a fun-filled week of family camp with Cityteam. What most people don’t know is that our youngest camper was a little boy who was only 1 month old! He will turn 11 years old this summer.

4. Our on-site Nursing Clinic, sponsored by Widener University, provides free primary health care to uninsured or underinsured men, women, and children. Our clinic was featured in Widener’s most recent magazine (page 14).

5. In the early 1900’s long before it became a place for homeless Cityteam Chester Buildingand addicted men to find shelter and recovery, our building was first a Buick dealership. Some time after the dealership had gone, the first floor was a local dance hall. Behind the layers of paint there are hearts surrounding the names of former Chester residents who had pledged their love to each other.

Check back for upcoming posts featuring stories, updates and photos of what’s happening at Cityteam Chester!

Kwinn Tucker, City Director

Kwinn Tucker, City Director