News-Sun: Local Lutheran Church Hosts Christmas Fundraiser for Homeless


Naomi Harward/240-298-8362

The Messiah Lutheran Church in Urbana invites you and your family to come out this Sunday, December 4, to their 15th annual “No Room at the Inn” fundraiser. All proceeds from the event will go directly to Champaign County’s homeless shelter, Caring Kitchen.

It will be held at the church, located at 1013 East Lawn Avenue, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. There will be music from multiple local choirs, a silent charity auction, and the annual “Display of the Nativities” featuring an expected 300 or more nativity scenes provided by the community.

The only cost at the event is the Chicken Noodle Dinner, which is $5 for adults and $3 for children. The church will also be collecting donations and a “free-will offering” for the Caring Kitchen.

The Caring Kitchen is a 17-bed homeless shelter with a 2-bed overflow that offers a food pantry and a clothing pantry, and an after-school program for kids. The shelter is also partnered with city school cafeterias in a program that sells backpacks filled with food to children who cannot afford lunches, selling as many as 250 to 300 backpacks a week.

As the homeless community continues to grow, director Marilyn Cohn said, the shelter has reached full capacity in the past few months. And Henson said that there have been a lot more children coming through the shelter’s programs.

“It’s heartbreaking,” Henson said. “It’s what has given us a lot of motivation to keep [No Room at the Inn] going.”

Cohn expressed her gratitude for what the church and the community has done for the shelter. She said that the community recognizes that “there is definitely a homeless situation – it hasn’t gone away”, and that they are more than willing to reach out and help the shelter combat that issue.

“It takes everyone working together to make this work,” she said. “We have an awesome community that serves.”

Messiah Lutheran’s fundraiser is one of those outreach opportunities in which much of the community is involved. He said a couple years ago the event raised $5000 for Caring Kitchen, and last year they raised $3000. This year, he said they expect to raise an amount within that range again.

Naomi HarwardComment