Dear Friend of the Mission,
Wow, it has been a wild ride the last several weeks with the coronavirus outbreak. With confidence and trust in the Lord, we believe that God calls us to act in wisdom as we seek to love and protect the homeless men who live at the Mission as well as our staff and their families. We are instructing our men every day to practice good personal hygiene, we have canceled all volunteer service and chapel groups to minimize the risk of someone from outside bringing the virus into the Mission, we are routinely taking the temperature of our residents and staff, we are regularly sanitizing all high-touch surfaces, and men who are not feeling well are being examined ½ a block away at the City Health Center. While it is hard to maintain social distancing in a tight-knit community such as ours, we are instructing our residents and staff to not shake hands, to cough into their arms, to wash their hands frequently, to not touch their face, and to refrain from friendly hugs and pats on the back. And as a precaution for our entire Mission family, which includes you, we have canceled our Night of Celebration on Saturday, April 25th.
The stark reality is that the homeless men who live at the Mission have no place to go – the Mission is their home. Our residents are some of the most vulnerable people facing COVID-19. Many of our men have chronic health conditions that compromise their ability to fight off the coronavirus if infected. Our men are poor and destitute, they are homeless and do not have a place to stay apart from the Mission, they are unemployed, and they do not have the resources and social safety-net that most of us have during a national emergency such as now. We therefore need your help to keep the Mission open as a safe haven and refuge for our residents.
Please support us financially as generously as you can. We know that many of you are also suffering from reduced income and increased expenses (e.g., child-care because the schools are closed). But for those of you who are financially able, we really need your help. Our thrift store income is taking a huge hit, our church speaking engagements are all canceled, churches and schools are not collecting food and other needed supplies for us because they are closed, and donations of leftover perishable food from supermarkets have decreased because people are over-buying food when they shop. Above all, please pray for us.
By God’s mercy and grace, we know we will get through this. I encourage you to read, rejoice, and rest in the truths of Psalm 46 – we will not be afraid, the Lord is with us.
Pressing on with hope,
Robert A. Emberger, D.Min.