Providing food and shelter

Two Ridge groups are at the forefront of helping the homeless

There is only one agency in Paradise working to provide shelter for homeless people and only one program providing food. Both operate on a limited basis.

Sojourner’s House on the Ridge, commonly referred to as SHOR, is a relatively new group that provides shelter during cold months. It opened its doors on Oct. 15, 2012, with two people coming on the first day. Now it can hold 20 people a night, until it closes for the season on April 15, 2013.

Guests meet between 4:45 and 5:30 p.m. at The Cove, the facility for people with autism located at 565 Pearson Road, across from Paradise Intermediate School, and then are bused to rotating host churches. The hosts include the Adventist, First Assembly, and United Methodist churches. A boxed dinner is provided.

SHOR needs help to keep going, anything from financial support to items such as deodorant, laundry detergent and baskets, new socks and undergarments, blankets, toothbrushes and toothpaste, and shampoo. It especially needs volunteers who can stay overnight to “provide love and friendship to guests.” SHOR can be contacted by calling Stephanie Gregorio at 872-1162.

Go to to learn more about SHOR.

The St. Nicholas Loaves and Fishes program was started on the foundation of treating people like they are guests invited to dinner, not supplicants at a “soup kitchen.” When it was started, the program served only one dinner a month. Now, with the help of other ridge churches, there are regular lunches six days a week and dinner on Thursdays, with an average attendance of more than 100 guests per meal.

Guests can be anyone from the young woman who hasn’t had any other food the entire day, to the older man who wears a silver hardhat that says “smile” on the front, to the lonely senior who pays for his meal in return for the opportunity of dining with others.

Anyone who wants to help is accepted as well. My friend’s mother and her 8-year-old sister even come once a month to plate the food and serve a meal to whoever comes that day. A feisty 89-year-old woman volunteers to sit in the greeting area with a welcome for anyone who walks in the door. Call 877-7006 for more information about volunteering.

Go to for a schedule of times and locations of the hot meals.