The OCP Blog

A Great Year at OCP

Dear Friends of OCP,

It has been an amazing first year for me as OCP’s new director. Ron Copeland has some very large shoes to fill, but staff, the Board, and our many volunteers and donors have continued to rally behind OCP during the director transition. You are the key to our success at OCP! We believe in you because you always help us meet the needs of those suffering homelessness and marginalization in our community. There is nothing more powerful in our lives at OCP—showing love in word and deed.

OCP is a place where ALL are welcomed. No matter your failures in life, your loss of family and friends, your addiction, your struggles with mental health, your fears, your hunger, your need for friendship. We are here all year long welcoming every person who needs healing in body and spirit.

In a few days we are sending out our year-end annual appeal. This is our main source of income for the next four months. Please give generously to help us fight the good fight. You can send in a check or use a credit/debit card at our website (OurCommunityPlace.org). We are always looking for new monthly donors to help provide OCP a more stable and predictable income stream. Think about it 😊

What did we do this year for our community members? We provided over 8300 hot meals and we added breakfast to our daily services. We also put a new focus on nutrition by getting rid of most sweet breads and partnering with the VA Extension Service to provide nutrition cooking classes. For the first time, we offered a WRAP empowerment program for those with addiction and mental health challenges. For staff we increased salaries, took staff on a wellness retreat, provided multiple staff development workshops, and added counseling services as a benefit to help with self-care. To reduce long-term costs we installed all new LED lighting throughout building and placed 49 solar panels on the roof. Over 10 years, we estimate this will save $36,000 that we can then re-invest in OCP programs and people.

What do we feel the spirit is calling us to this year? We celebrate the achievements of this last year, but there are still needs that OCP has decided we must address. One challenge is to provide full-day services on extremely cold winter days. The goal is to be open for 12 hours on extremely cold/snowy days so that people leaving the Open Doors shelter at 6:30am and returning at 6:30pm will have a place to be warm, safe, and fed. This means extra staffing and other expenses for OCP, but it is important that we meet this need. We are moving ahead in faith, believing that the greater Harrisonburg-Rockingham community will rise with us to meet this challenge!

Upcoming December events. You are invited!

  • Tomorrow night (Tuesday) is our annual Christmas Concert with 8 groups performing, wonderful desserts, and our annual silent auction. Help us make this fundraiser a success! December 4, Park View Mennonite Church, 6-9pm.
  • The local vocal ensemble “VOICE” is holding a concert the evenings of Saturday Dec. 8 (7pm) and Sunday Dec. 9 (3pm). Proceeds benefit OCP.
  • Christmas meal at OCP – Christmas Day at 12 noon.

Finances: Our fiscal year runs from April through March. Year-to-date income through November was $193,337; expenses were $196,468; net was ($3,131).

It is the season of Advent, the season of Hope. Thank you for the hope you provide to OCP community members and staff. Have a blessed season!

Sam Nickels, Ph.D

Executive Director