Unique Easton shelter celebrates 5th anniversary

EASTON, Md. – A homeless shelter, unlike any other, is celebrating a milestone on the Eastern Shore. The Talbot Interfaith Shelter in Easton looks like any other home. While it has been serving the Mid-Shore for almost 11 years, it’s home known as Easton’s Promise has changed countless lives over the past five years.

“It’s just amazing what they do here for the kids and for us as adults and single moms and everything,” says Kelly Ashe, a former guest at the shelter. “It’s been absolutely life-changing for me and my son.”

For the past five years, a quaint home in Easton has served as a homeless shelter, making miracles happen in the process. “I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without T.I.S. There’s just no way,” says Ashe.

Talbot Interfaith Shelter, or T.I.S., is in the heart of the city’s historic district but it didn’t get there without a fight.

“We had a lot of people who came out against us being here who were worried about what that meant for the neighborhood,” says Jayme Dingler, the Marketing Development Director at T.I.S.

And it’s their location that has made all the difference. “Being where we are located, like in the center of town so to speak, our folks are able to get to Department of Social Services. They’re able to get to the food stamp office. They’re able to get everywhere,” says Fran Doran, the Director of Operations at T.I.S.

The immediate warmth and charm of the home sets this shelter apart. “We walked upstairs and I said, ‘You’re kidding me. We’re going to be staying here in this house?’ I knew we were going to be okay from that moment on,” says Ashe.

But it’s the organization’s foundation that has made a lasting impact. “The depth of services that they’re receiving are making their chances of success, once they leave our program, so much greater,” says Dingler.

The shelter’s “S4 Program” stands for shelter, stability, support and success. Dingler says the shelter helps guests with the first three elements so they can reach the last one: success.

It’s the combination of a family environment and required educational classes, right down to the small details like private bedrooms, that get people back on their feet. “Rebuilding our guests’ confidence and giving them that sense of dignity,” says Dingler.

And thanks to this shelter’s approach, hundreds of people like Kelly Ashe can vouch that it works. “I feel very proud of myself. I’m extremely proud of myself. It just makes me feel empowered and independent. If I can do it anyone can do it,” says Ashe.

Unlike other organizations, the Talbot Interfaith Shelter doesn’t use a “one size fits all approach”. Directors say each person and family that walks through their doors has unique needs, meaning¬†they don’t put a time constraint on their services.

In the future, directors hope to start a thrift store and even teach other shelters about their methods of success.

To learn more about the services that Talbot Interfaith Shelter offers, how to donate or volunteer: click here.

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