PORT is coming to DUPC in December!
Just like everything else in 2020, PORT will be very different this year. While we typically host the final week of the season (mid/late March), this year we are hosting for two weeks: December 16-30. LINK – the organization which oversees PORT – has created new partnerships to make this vital community ministry happen in the difficult circumstances of this winter season. Some details are still being finalized, but here is a summary of what Link is doing differently and how our church is contributing.
Many churches that typically host or partner with PORT have declined to participate this year. Therefore, PORT will be hosted for 2-3 week periods at each participating church. In order to allow for proper distancing, there will be two hosting sites at any given time, with a third overflow site on call.
Various protocols…PORT guests will be screened before joining PORT for the night.
No meals will be prepared or served at host churches. PORT residents will be served dinner and breakfast at another site and transported to/from host churches by LINK and its partners.
LINK has been able to hire more paid staff members through funding from the City of Newport News and other partners. These additional staff will reduce – but not eliminate – the need for volunteers from host and partner churches.
For the 2020/21 PORT season, Denbigh United will serve as a host church for two consecutive weeks: December 16-30. Our church leadership volunteered for these weeks primarily because it falls outside of when preschool is in session. The weeks over the Christmas holiday were also seen as a greater need by LINK because the churches that usually host then declined to do so this year. Tammy Castagna, our preschool director, graciously shifted their final week of school by one day so that there is no overlap between preschool and PORT being in the building at the same time.
An outside cleaning service will be in each host church daily. Every day, the occupied spaces will be clean and sanitized, including using a sanitation “bomb” with EPA-approved (List N) ingredients that kill the novel coronavirus.
No showers will be provided at the host church this season.
No tables with clothing and other items will be out for PORT residents.
We are upgrading our HVAC filters beginning in early November. Our usual filters with a “Merv” rating of 8 will be upgraded to Merv 13. The higher grade filters will improve our ventilation and airflow protection – they even claim to catch virus particles.
Some volunteers from our community’s churches will be needed to do a few of the necessary tasks each evening; no volunteers will be required in the afternoon, overnight, or in the morning. You will be able to sign up to help with things like recording resident information, writing name, bag, and bedding tags, and putting away guests’ belongings. The volunteer hours will be from 6:30-9:00 p.m. But again, even this volunteer opportunity is happening differently. Volunteers from across the PORT community – churches, schools, and other organizations – are being invited to volunteer for any night throughout the PORT season. What that means is that while it would be wonderful to have DUPC folks staff the nights we are hosting, others can sign up for those nights too AND we can sign up to volunteer at other churches throughout the 2020/21 PORT season. If you would like to volunteer, you can sign up for any night from November 4, 2020, to March 24, 2021 (including the nights we are hosting, December 16-30) at signup.com/go/qbHOttb. You can also find this link on our own website (denbighpres.org).