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SLU Showcases Ways to Give: Winter Inn

by Jeff Ackels

Winter Inn, a men’s shelter operating in the basement of St. Francis Xavier College Church on Wednesday and Thursday nights, is seeking volunteers and donations for the 2019-20 winter season.  

Winter Inn is part of the St. Louis Winter Outreach program, a collection of churches and faith-based organizations which provides emergency shelter to supplement government services. The program operates Dec. 1 through Feb. 28 each year on nights when the temperature drops below 20 degrees.

Winters Inn

Cots are set up in the basement of St. Francis Xavier College Church for Winter Inn. Photo by Maggie Rotermund

Guests are given a meal, an opportunity to clean up, a warm bed and breakfast in the morning. Volunteers eat with the men and play board games after dinner.

“There’s no way we could provide such a welcoming shelter without the SLU students. They get to know the guests, play all the games (and the students know how to play all the games, as opposed to the older volunteers) with them, eat with them, help them find the cots they want,” said volunteer coordinator Anne Osdieck. “Even during the Christmas break, when there are not many students to call on, the ones who live here in St. Louis come help out. They go way beyond the call of duty.”

Volunteers provide crock pots of soup and sandwiches for dinner, while others work to serve the men while they are in the church. People are needed in the following roles:

New volunteer training sessions will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 16, and 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 21. To sign up go to or email Tess Sanders at if you can’t make those dates.

“Both guests and volunteers do a lot of receiving in this shelter experience,” Osdieck said.

While staying at Winter Inn, each man receives a new pair of underwear and socks. 

Winter Inn is always looking for donations of new socks and underwear, as well as travel sized toiletry items and gloves. For more information or to donate to Winter Inn, please email

As the holiday season approaches, Saint Louis University is highlighting organizations at SLU that could benefit from the gift of time or donations. To suggest a group or organization, contact Jeff Ackels at