Dear Friend of the Mission,
January and February of 2020 were good months at the Mission. We were rejoicing in all of the special activities and events our men were able to enjoy during the 2019 Christmas holidays. Our annual thank you letter in February included a “save the date” notice for our annual Night of Celebration which is usually held in April. And then COVID hit. I remember when we were required to close our two thrift stores as nonessential businesses. Our ministry to homeless men was viewed as an essential business, and we stayed open. But we had to lay off 6 staff members, and over the next several months we lost over $150,000.00 in thrift store income. With our 55-beds for homeless men, we worked hard to keep COVID-19 out of the Mission. We implemented all sorts of policies and procedures to keep our residents and staff as safe as possible. While many non-profits and businesses were able to keep their staff safe by closing down and working virtually from home, this was impossible for us to do as a long-term residential program for homeless men. Our staff members were and still are wonderful – none of them complained about risking their health and 100% of our staff showed up for work every day. By the very nature of our ministry, our staff and residents mixed and mingled together. We were careful and all wore masks and practiced social distancing, but the very nature of our ministry requires in-person interactions. By God’s grace, COVID-19 stayed out of the Mission for 8 months, and then in late November, COVID got into the Mission. We experienced our own mini-epidemic in December. Six residents and six staff came down with COVID. I ended up in the hospital for six days over Christmas. But through it all, the Mission stayed open, and our ministry to broken and hurting homeless men continued without interruption.
I do not have enough words to thank each of you for standing with us in 2020 and doing so much to support us and to keep us going. Some days we were “limping” along, but through your fervent prayers, your generous financial support, and your abundant donations of food, cleaning supplies, masks, and everything else we needed to fulfill our ministry, our doors are still open, we are still loving our men with the love of Christ, and broken and hurting people are tasting the goodness of the Lord. Thank you for all that you did for us in 2020!
Grateful and still pressing on,
Robert A. Emberger, D.Min.