Our parent organization is Partnering Against Homelessness.  We are several churches that have come together in response to banding in unity to do anything we can to help the homeless community in our area.  Our wish is to get more churches involved to do many aspects in helping the homeless community.  We have monthly meetings in orders to help churches that don't know where or what they can do to help and we try to let them know about different ways that they can serve.  There might be a different mission or ministry that your church hasn't heard of before and your church might be a great fit to help them.

When we started Partnering Against Homelessness several churches were involved in providing a homeless men's shelter.  First Presbyterian Church, Restoration Urban Ministries, and Savoy UMC would rotate weeks of hosting these men from January 1 thru April 15.  We did this in conjunction with The Mental Health Center, (now Community Elements),and The Council of Service Providers for the Homeless.  The overflow shelter lasted 5 years and it helped to spur on the idea of Austin’s Place, which is still in operation. So even though PAH wants to inform several churches about the homeless community, we also want to be an active part in helping the homeless community.  This now brings us up to the Canteen Run.

When the men’s overflow shelter ended and Austin’s Place had already started, The Council of Service Providers for the Homeless were brainstorming ideas on how we could go to the homeless and serve them.  That’s when Salvation Army  offered the use of their truck and Partnering Against Homelessness offered to organize it by getting the area churches involved.  That’s when the Canteen Run was born and has been going out to the homeless for 6 years now.  Each year it continues to grow.

 We offer this help through the Canteen Run.  In cooperation with the Salvation Army, we take their canteen truck throughout downtown Champaign-Urbana with the sole purpose of offering food, drinks, shirts,underwear, blankets, information about agencies that can help them, and prayers to anyone we meet on the streets who needs it.  Salvation Army supplies the truck, and through Salvation Army and local churches they supply the food and clothing that we will need.  We also were able to get underwear from.  Salt & Light also allows us to come and get some jackets and shirts. We get our volunteers through the churches and we have some guys from the Salvation Army help. 

We want to welcome everyone to join us on the Canteen Run.  There is no age limit and there are no restrictions on if you go to church or not.  Let's share in this wonderful experience together.