For our tenth anniversary, our Founder, Evelyn Sedlack, several of our past Board Chairs, Executive Director, Julie Lowe, and Director of Operations, Fran Doran, gathered at Easton’s Promise to talk about the history of Talbot Interfaith Shelter.
We hope you will take a few minutes to watch this fascinating oral history, made possible by the people in this video and extraordinary supporters like YOU!
Talbot Interfaith Shelter was formed in 2008 by a group of concerned members of Talbot County faith communities alarmed by a growing number of requests for assistance from those who were hungry, homeless, or about to become homeless. We hoped to be able to fill the gap to provide a safe haven to families in need.
For 5 years, we were a “homeless” homeless shelter, rotating cots, blankets, supplies and support through Talbot’s faith congregations. Teams of volunteers from 19 faith communities came together to bring hot meals, drive shelter guests to showers at the YMCA, make bagged lunches and spend time with the shelter’s guests. Shelter guests had to leave each morning, and return again in the evening to allow the churches and synagogue to conduct their normal schedules of day school and outreach meetings.
For many years, our strategic plan included the prospect of a second shelter facility that would allow us to expand our capacity and help more of our neighbors in need. In the spring of 2020, when the COVID crisis began, we anticipated devastating economic repercussions for many in our community. Even before eviction courts reopened, we were already receiving an influx of calls from local families and individuals in need of shelter.
In April 2020, we began actively exploring ways to expand our capacity to accommodate more people and help them through these challenging times. After many months of discussions and planning, the solution presented itself… Directly next door to Easton’s Promise at 109 Goldsborough Street in Easton!
A large part of the success of the S4 Program thus far had been due to our unique shelter facility at Easton’s Promise. Both its homey atmosphere and its location in the center of town give guests an immediate sense of dignity and confidence, and let them know that they are valued members of our community. We were thrilled to have found another such property in 109 Goldsborough Street, where guests have a home and a sense of belonging. With seven bedrooms, three full baths, a kitchen, meeting space, laundry facilities and more, this is a perfect setting for guests to regain stability as they work towards earning a spot in one of our off-site transitional apartments.
Appropriately, on November 17, 2020, during National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, the Easton Board of Zoning Appeals (BOZA) voted unanimously to approve our permit to expand our services into 109 Goldsborough Street.
We were fortunate that Easton’s Promise came with a name befitting the work that was done inside. Dozens of supporters from across the community submitted suggestions to name our new building, and more than 1,000 people voted for the winner, Evelyn’s Place, an homage to our founder, Evelyn Sedlack. Evelyn’s Place was designated as a shelter for single men and women, while Easton’s Promise serves families with children.
On January 26th, 2021, we finalized the purchase of this new property, and on June 6, 2022 (our Executive Director Julie Lowe’s birthday), we opened our doors to guests for the first time. Within three weeks, every bed was filled with a local man or woman beginning their journey to self-sufficiency through the S4 Program.