Community Champions: Emmaus House of Savannah

Community Champions: Emmaus House of Savannah

SAVANNAH, GA (WTOC) - When you don’t know where your next meal is coming from, it’s good to know Emmaus House is there.

These WTOC Community Champions have been feeding Savannah’s homeless for almost four decades.

"A lot of people who are freshly homeless, never been homeless before, what’s the first thing you need? ‘I’m homeless, I need to get a meal,' said Ariana Berksteiner, Emmaus House Executive Director.

Every weekday for 37 years, hundreds of individuals in Savannah have gotten that meal at Emmaus House - a respite for the homeless in the heart of Savannah’s Historic District. Emmaus House serves 250 hot meals per day, has a laundry drop-off service, and provides a place to get clean and warm.

“The whole idea is those things that we all take for granted when you wake up in the morning, like brushing your teeth, eating a hot meal, taking a shower, putting on some clean clothes and then going out into the community to be productive - those things are hard to do when you’ve been sleeping in a tent.”

Commonly referred to as a soup kitchen, Emmaus House provides much more than soup at 8:30 every morning.

“The chef says it all the time, ‘breakfast is time time of day, rather than a type of meal.’ We’ll do meatballs and spaghetti, lasagna, fried chicken - most any kind of hearty meal that will get someone through the day because that could be the only meal they’ll have.”

The WTOC Community Champions at Emmaus House are also feeding souls who often have been broken by circumstances.

“That’s the thing that brings people here. You can get a hot meal, but the biggest thing is, you get a ‘hello, good morning, how are you,' because the issue is that they feel invisible. There is a feeling that you belong here. When there is a constant feeling that you don’t belong, it’s nice to be somewhere where you’re welcome, you’re celebrated, and people care about your well being.”

Emmaus House has only four staff members, and is only able to provide the level of service it does to the community because of a large, dedicated group of volunteers.

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