The Upper Room of Erie
The Upper Room of Erie, Inc is a Pennsylvania 501(c)(3) corporation. A receipt for your tax deductible contributions will gladly be provided.
We are sponsored jointly by St. Paul's United Church of Christ and St. Patrick's Catholic Church. As our host church, St. Paul's provides our space, utilities and moral support. St. Patrick provides mailing and administrative support. Financial support comes from individuals, church organizations and businesses in our area.
Your help is needed! We can always use cash contributions to sustain our operating budget. In addition, we can always use coffee, creamer, warm clothing, socks and small containers of personal hygiene products. Party leftovers are always welcome. A printable wish list has been prepared.
Online contributions are received through
Erie Community Foundation
Contact Dr. Chris Taylor at 814.459.6315 or visit the shelter at 1024 Peach St, Erie PA, 16501, south door. Email us at Dr. Chris Taylor
I worked in the world of retail business for years before getting my doctorate later in life. I'm betting you understand the demands of making payroll, state and federal tax reports, meeting budget, controlling costs, and the challenges folks like us face.
Well, one year, when my kids were little, I was feeling a bit sorry for myself because I was going to lay-off five people… temporarily after the holidays, and I was struggling to make business loan payments each month, I decided to take my family (we lived in a community outside Pittsburgh) to see Santa and a Christmas display in the park. After my daughter and son sat on Santa's lap and we walked through a display of lit trees, we came to the Nativity scene, which we took a few extra minutes to enjoy and say a little prayer giving thanks for the miracle of the season. We started the car and headed toward home. On the way, I saw a homeless man walking on the street. I do not know what happened in those moments, because all I remember was thinking I had an extra blanket I always carried in the car and it was extremely cold. I pulled over, got out and took the blanket out of the trunk.
"Excuse me... hello", I called out to him.
He kept walking and I followed and tried to call him again.
"Excuse me, Mr.", I called out and he finally turned around. "Here this is for you," I said.
When he took the blanket from my hands, I felt the touch of his hands on mine and he looked up and said kindly, "thank you". Again I looked at him with a smile and I said Merry Christmas. He replied, "Merry Christmas and God bless you."
I went back to my car where my wife and kids were waiting. As I drove away, I looked in the rearview mirror. The man, by his frost-covered shopping cart (full of his filthy belongings) was praying, thanking his God for the blanket, which was draped across his back. I was truly moved by the affect a simple blanket had on this poor soul, and I always think back to that experience.
At the Upper Room of Erie, we provide blankets to the poor and homeless – more than a thousand of them each year. We serve coffee; give out shower passes so folks can wash off the dirt from heating vents and lonely bus stops from the night before. We do this for more than 35,000 visitors each year. We give out laundry detergent, coats, pants, shirts, sweaters. We give out deodorant, shampoo, aspirin, plastic combs, and socks and shoes when we have them. We do picnics, and take folks to the ballgame, when we get free tickets. And, of course, we run a "Blizzard of Blankets" campaign downtown Erie every year to build our inventory of blankets. Everything we do we do for free, no questions asked.
And, most importantly, we offer shelter for those less fortunate, out from the weather, where warmth and social interaction can grow. Our roof leaks, yet we receive no tax dollars, just donations. We need your help! Will you consider us? "Erie Gives" day is August 12. This is a good way to give and see your dollars matched by the Community Foundation. But the simple matter of it is -- we depend on donations from folks year round. If the "Erie Gives" event doesn't fit your plan, maybe just a small check to the Upper Room. I promise it will make a difference to the poor and homeless of Erie.
The homeless population of Erie is growing, especially women (who, frankly, are vulnerable on the street). Help us to help them. Make a difference this year. We are a 501C(3) corporation. Our folks are mostly volunteers and our doors are open 365 days a year. I'm betting it will make you feel good, like it did for me years ago.
Dr. Cristopher Taylor, MA, PhD