YORK, Pa. — Homeless shelters help those in need, but Bell Family Shelter found itself in need when kitchen renovations meant staff couldn't cook meals during the holidays.
The shelter hosts an average of 40 people each night—many of them children. Part of making a normal home environment are the two hot meals they serve every day, but earlier this month, the kitchen went out of commission.
"We had a dishwasher and it was leaking," said Tonya Hall, the shelter's resident counselor.
Hall prides herself on her cooking, but without a kitchen, she couldn't prepare any holiday meals.
"Can't really cook anything properly," shelter resident Ashanta Banks said of the gutted kitchen.
Without a way to make hot food, the shelter that offers so much help had to reach out to the community for help.
The community responded.
"It makes you feel wonderful," Hall said. "It makes you feel like you have a need and it's being fulfilled."
"Just something for this time of year to help families and people in need," said Steve Ferguson, manager of food services at WellSpan York Hospital.
WellSpan brought in a traditional Pennsylvania Dutch New Year's Day meal.
"Pork and sauerkraut, mashed potatoes, mixed vegetables, rolls and some dessert," Ferguson said.
The New Year's meal was especially meaningful, shelter residents said, because it was made in the holiday spirit.
"I will enjoy the sauerkraut and the pork because it was made for us and I feel like it's a special meal towards us," Banks said.
The water damage has now been repaired, shelter officials said, so the renovations should be complete within the next week or two and they can get back to cooking their own meals.