Community CARES began in 2004 (then called Carlisle C.A.R.E.S.) as a ministry of the then-Grace United Methodist Church (now Carlisle United Methodist Church). After sheltering a few men for a night, members of the church and community realized the challenges faced by those experiencing homelessness were far bigger than they anticipated.
Motivated by the vision that an emergency shelter in the county seat was a necessity, a group of local congregations and social service providers, led by C.A.R.E.S. founder, Shari Bellish, began developing a plan to provide the supports and services needed in the community.
Initially, C.A.R.E.S. housed 3 or 4 homeless individuals during the harshest winter months through a network of 3 churches. As support grew, C.A.R.E.S. was able to offer shelter year-round to as many as 60 guests each night.
In 2010, we expanded our services to meet the growing needs of the community. The Resource Center was developed for the residents of C.A.R.E.S. This provides a place for our residents to shower, do laundry, receive mail, cook, and rest when they are ill. It also provides a place where they can meet with their Supportive Services Coordinator. Just as importantly, the Resource Center gives them a place to call 'home' through a time of great challenge.
In order to provide the maximum benefit to the community, we make every effort to not duplicate any resources that are already being offered. Working with other community organizations and businesses allows this to be possible and so, we continue to look for partners in the community and collaboration opportunities.