(Not) Alone in the World

When Union Rescue Mission saw this economic downturn happening before our eyes, we made an unusual choice. We decided to not only stay on course welcoming those struggling in poverty with the love of Christ, but in order to live up to our history during the Great Depression, we stepped it up a notch to meet the growing need. We converted our 5th floor, previously saved for VIP’s and volunteer groups (and me if I ever needed to spend the night), into housing for two-parent families and single Dads with children, two groups we had not often seen coming to the Mission previously. Since making that choice, we’ve seen some incredible things. Our meals have gone up nearly 40%, as we served 3,450 in one day alone last week. Last night 929 souls found shelter under our roof. Dozens of families have arrived on our 5th Floor, Project Restart as we call it, and a number of families have been placed in transitional and permanent housing thanks to our efforts and partners working with us. As of last night, 15 families with 39 children, a total of 61 people, occupy this 5th floor space that was largely under utilized in the past.

This includes one very special family awaiting their first baby. A co-worker came to my office on Monday and told me that we had a couple who had lost their housing and were seeking shelter, but all of our rooms were full. Not only were all of our rooms full, but even our tent-like structures, EDARs, were in use. My co-worker also let me know that the husband is working and the expectant mom is 9 months pregnant, due any day. We did what we always do. We searched for a place to put this precious family. We found an unused, cleaned up EDAR unit, and placed it in our 5th Floor Conference room. The expectant couple was thrilled to lay their heads down in a safe place and get some much needed rest.

I am sure that this young couple felt deserted, abandoned, and alone in the world when they came to our doors. Even as they entered I am sure they felt some fear and trepidation, but as they entered, because of the commitment and courage of our Board of Directors and staff, they were embraced with the love of Christ. Today, the young husband is figuring out ways to have his employer bless the other families with food donations and anxiously asking about a parenting class he can attend so that he can be a good father to his first born. Pray for this little one. She is very special. She is the reason we stepped up in a time of need.

3 thoughts on “(Not) Alone in the World

  1. Pingback: Anonymous
  2. Michael on

    Rev. Andy,

    Thank you for the important work that you’re doing. My wife and I were just wondering, given the surge in unemployment and foreclosures, are fathers still being separated from their families as a condition for receiving services? We’re happy to learn (from your post here) that that is not always the case. Good!

    I have a blog called Love to Spare where I have (thus far) only been talking about love and helping others. But as the saying goes: talk is cheap. I’ve decided it’s time to get involved and to actually do something. Consequently, I’m scheduled to attend your organization’s orientation on May 16.

    I’m interesting in giving time (volunteering) and money to the cause. I’m also interested in sharing my experience with others (via Love to Spare) in the hope that others may also be inspired to give.

    I’m really concerned about how invisible homeless families seem to become, and would like to do more to ensure that their needs are recognized and met.

    Thank you for the opportunity and inspiration to serve!

  3. Thank you, Michael. Yes, we made it possible to house 2 parent families and single Dads and their children together when we saw the numbers of families that were on the way here last Fall. It is working well. We look forward to seeing you at the orientation and your involvement in the lives of our guests here. Bless you, Michael! Andy B.

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