EAST WENATCHEE — At 8 a.m. Thursday PowerHouse Ministry Center opened its doors for the homeless. The temperature hovered around 8 degrees.
PowerHouse is looking for donations to help keep its doors open. The ministry is a day shelter that provides homeless people with a warm place to stay, laundry services, food, clothing and more, said Dave Kleinfeldt, Powerhouse Ministries’ co-coordinator. Shalom Church Pastor Samuel Detwiler is retiring and moving to Colorado.
Powerhouse Ministries is located below Shalom Church at 1052 Valley Mall Parkway and the church provides the funding and volunteer support for the organization.
“Many of the other places are great places and you can get hot meals and things like that," Kleinfeldt said of other emergency shelters in the Wenatchee Valley. "But you can’t stay on the premise and be in a safe place and be in a safe atmosphere. So we feel very strongly that this place is needed.”
Detwiler said he decided to retire from the church because of his wife's health. He appreciated his time in the Wenatchee Valley and has a lot of love for this community. He hopes people will continue to help the homeless here.
“It’s time that Christians show more grace and love for those that are hurting and those that don’t have their lives altogether and we’re trying to lead by example,” he said.
Kleinfeldt will be taking over as pastor of Shalom Church, but the congregation’s numbers have shrunk over the years, he said. It can no longer support PowerHouse without more help.
The organization pays about $3,000 a month in rent, but for all its services it will need about $4,000 to $5,000 a month.
The day shelter fills an important need in the community, Kleinfeldt said. Nowhere else in Wenatchee or East Wenatchee can people go to shower, do laundry and sleep.
The shelter, which is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, doesn’t require people to be clean and sober, he said. It also allows dogs, which most shelters in Wenatchee and East Wenatchee don’t. People also come there just to sleep on the couches, because it is so cold at night it’s impossible to get any rest, Kleinfeldt said.
“I can’t imagine what it is like to be out all night in this (weather),” Kleinfeldt said. “I mean you’re literally fighting for your life.”
PowerHouse Ministry Center has operated under Shalom Church’s nonprofit status for years, he said. The shelter is now trying to separate itself from the church and become its own nonprofit. It established a board recently to accomplish that goal.
“People are giving to a lot of other worthwhile things so it is always difficult to find people that are willing to donate,” Kleinfeldt said. “People are (also) not as likely to give to a particular church as they would be to a more independent organization or independent ministry.”
Jeffrey B. Wood, 46, said he doesn’t know what he would do if PowerHouse Ministry wasn’t available. Wood has been homeless for a year in the Wenatchee Valley after losing his home. The shelter is the only place he can go to shower and do laundry.
“When I leave here I just go to a cold tent and basically sit there until these guys open up,” he said.
Lighthouse Ministries provides a free meal for people during the day, said Timothy S. Cooper, 47. But it isn’t open all day and doesn’t allow dogs.
Cooper has a dog named Tank. Tank sat at Cooper’s feet while the man ate his lunch at PowerHouse Ministries.
“He’s my buddy no doubt,” Cooper said. “Spoiled, he’s like one of the kids. I love the dog. He’s an awesome dog.”
It’s important to have that companionship, he said.