New Castle News

November 24, 2012

Patches Place daytime haven for homeless

Debbie Wachter
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — People who want to donate to the homeless in New Castle may do so through Patches Place.

The agency partners with Catholic Charities to accept a variety of donations for the homeless.

In addition to monetary contributions, it accepts gift cards, food, tents, camping gear, pillows, sheets, water bottles, sleeping bags, fishing gear and firewood. Also welcome are fully cooked foods that can be easily opened and are ready to eat — such as Ramen noodles, Vienna sausages and dehydrated meals — as well as cookers or any utensils one would use while camping.

Patches Place is trying to form a council of churches to provide hot food for the homeless, executive director Sandy Hause said, and a lot of churches help the homeless by providing food and other supplies.

She recommends donors send their contributions directly to the center for the privacy of the tent city inhabitants and to protect both parties.

Hause fears that with the state cutting off general public assistance, “we are going to have people who no longer get any money. We think we will start seeing a greater influx of homelessness.

“People are actually selling their food stamps to live, because it’s a choice of being in a house or eating,” she said.

The first person who Patches Place helped had lived at Tent City for six years, according to Angela Hagberg, a mental health advocate at the agency.

“One man was in the woods since 1984,” she said, noting he was a Vietnam veteran.

Patches Place provides:

•Daytime shelter, coffee and May’s Donuts

•Barber shears, for those who want to give themselves haircuts

•Tents and sleeping bags

•A winter package of more than $350 worth of items including a tent, tarp, rope, sleeping bag, air heater, water cup, fishing equipment, flashlights, thermos, can opener, thermal underwear, socks, hats, gloves and two blankets

•Classes in computer skills, adult literacy, Bible studies and weight loss

•Hot breakfasts, which the drop-in homeless help to cook

•Lunch, which can include soup, chicken, fish, turkey, Mexican casserole, vegetable, chili or ribs.

Patches Place buys the food in quantities, then prepares it in a family-type setting.

When the funds are gone, Hause said, “we won’t do it anymore.”

Patches Place also gives letters to the homeless to enable them to visit the Salvation Army to get clothing.

Donations for assisting the homeless may be made by calling Patches Place at (724) 657-0226 or Catholic Charities at (724) 658-5526.