Saturday, September 23, 2023

‘Peace of mind’: Local hotels shelter homeless for Christmas

Quarterpath Inn owner Doug Pons stands in the office of the motel, where several people without homes on Christmas stayed overnight in 2016. This year, Pons is unable to host shelter guests because his inn is being renovated into apartments. (Sarah Fearing/WYDaily)

Instead of sleeping on the streets or in a shelter this holiday, 26 of Williamsburg’s homeless will spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day in the comfort and privacy of their own hotel rooms.

The homeless Williamsburg residents will spend Christmas warm and well-fed in eight local motels, thanks to a partnership between local, faith-based nonprofit Community of Faith Mission (COFM), area churches and the Williamsburg Hotel & Motel Association.

The eight hotels donated one or two rooms apiece for the two nights, according to Ron Kirkland from the hotel motel association.

Participating hotels include the Courtyard Marriott near Busch Gardens, Econo Lodge Colonial, Best Western Williamsburg Historic District, Quality Inn Historic East, Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Williamsburg, Holiday Inn Express & Suites Williamsburg, Pineapple Inn and Housing Center and Country Inn & Suites on Pocahontas Trail, Kirkland said.

“It’s really exciting and humbling for us to see how many hotels are willing to participate in this,” COFM Executive Director Ashley Willis said.

Check in will begin around 3 p.m. Christmas Eve. The guests’ stays will last until the morning of Dec. 26, Willis said.

During their stay, guests can choose to either relax in their rooms or go out for the day, Willis said.

This is the third year COFM shelter guests will stay at hotels for the Christmas holiday. Williamsburg’s Temple Beth El will deliver dinner to all 26 guests both nights, and also pack breakfast and lunch for the following days, Willis said.

‘It gives the guests peace of mind,” Willis said.

Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing
Sarah Fearing is the Assistant Editor at WYDaily. Sarah was born in the state of Maine, grew up along the coast, and attended college at the University of Maine at Orono. Sarah left Maine in October 2015 when she was offered a job at a newspaper in West Point, Va. Courts, crime, public safety and civil rights are among Sarah’s favorite topics to cover. She currently covers those topics in Williamsburg, James City County and York County. Sarah has been recognized by other news organizations, state agencies and civic groups for her coverage of a failing fire-rescue system, an aging agriculture industry and lack of oversight in horse rescue groups. In her free time, Sarah enjoys lazing around with her two cats, Salazar and Ruth, drinking copious amounts of coffee and driving places in her white truck.

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