Through volunteering, you help make our life-changing services possible and have a front row seat to God working in our community.
Drives for food, everyday essentials, and other goods play a huge part in helping us care for thousands of individuals each year in our community.
With every dollar you are helping to lift families and individuals out of poverty and bring them Christ-centered love and dignity.
Life transformation happens through Christ… and the generosity of caring friends like you. Your gift provides delicious meals. Safe shelter. And an opportunity to experience God’s love that restores hearts and makes new life possible!
Each day Water Street seeks to go beyond providing basic needs such as food, clothing, and shelter. We invite each man, woman, and child to experience restoration in all areas of life, leaving them restored to be restorers to those around them.
The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me, because the LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. Isaiah 61:1
In the spirit of Gods word in Isaiah 61, we are called to walk alongside those who are most marginalized in our community, those experiencing homelessness or life at the poverty line.
Our core mission is to advance the kingdom of God through the gospel of Jesus Christ and to do missionary, relief, and rescue work of all kinds. We serve our community through the following core ministries.
Our trauma-informed services are designed to invite guests into deeper engagement, helping them develop a feeling of safety and love that will guide them into further internal work and life-change. Shelter guests find:
In our Residential Programs, our guests receive individualized counseling and coaching, as well as a unique action plan and course load, all serving to help guests reimagine and redefine their future. This includes access to:
Water Street Health Services addresses all dimensions of health to find individualized solutions. Through our medical, dental, and behavioral health counseling practices we give patients the tools they need to overcome major health obstacles and pursue their life goals. Patients receive:
The Outreach Center, our Community Food Bank, provides groceries to thousands of individuals a week. We provide nutritious food in our shopping center to bridge the gap between living expenses and paying rent. In the end we want each person to experience God’s provision in their lives and know they are not alone in trying times. Here guests find:
Wonder Club classes focus on meeting kids at a critical time, when they first interact with education. This high-quality program serves primarily low-income families by offering:
Teen Haven sets Middle School and High School students on a path of restoration so their identity is based not in what the world says of them, but on God’s love. This firm foundation carries teens through the ups and downs of life, and into roles of leadership and purpose in our community. We play a key role in:
Automating your giving on a monthly basis helps give us a firm and predictable foundation to fight poverty and homelessness.
By donating your time, you can help impact lives and express love to those in need.
When you give to Water Street you are sending a message of support to those in need.
We accept food and everyday essentials at our main campus dock. CommunityAid accepts all clothing donations on our behalf. To find more information on suggested donation items visit our Donate Goods page.
Call 2-1-1 to get connected to resources in our community, including Water Street.
Throughout this season, we have encountered a number of challenges in operating our shelter safely. Thankfully we have been blessed to see no community spread among our guests. This is due not only to the work of our team, but also the ways that upgrades to our facilities came at just the right time.
For example, Providence Shelter, which opened in November 2019, provides additional spacing and a top-tier air filtration system. We have also been able to implement the same air filtration standards in our dining hall prior to the most recent wave of COVID.
Because a high percentage of our guests have preexisting health conditions, we have had to be diligent in our safety protocols, doing our best to ensure their safety. For us that has included implanting all CDC disinfecting, masking and social distancing from the very beginning. This has led to major changes in roles and responsibilities of staff. Staff have taken over disinfecting in shifts all over campus. They have also delivered much of our support services and programs through zoom, hosting counseling sessions and classes virtually and meeting in-person with plexi-glass dividers only when necessary.
For meals, we’ve changed preparation and delivery to help minimize interaction of guests who live in different facilities. At times that has meant delivering meals to certain Residential Floors so we can keep smaller groups in the dining hall. We have also had to restrict guests’ travel on and off campus to only essential trips such as going to work, the doctors, shopping etc., in order to minimize unnecessary exposure.
Another change in this season has been how we do intakes. Currently, the intake process requires new guests to be tested for COVID-19. They await their test results in a separate temporary shelter we have set up, before entering Providence Emergency Shelter.
All of these changes have been made while severely limiting the number of volunteers on campus. At one point, all volunteering was completely put on hold. Now, we are running with a third of our normal volunteers.
And it’s been tiring, for both staff and guests. We have had times where many staff were working remotely due to their own health risks. Other times where staff or guests have been quarantined due to exposures. But even with all of the schedule changes, increased overtime, and cross-shift working, our team has done an amazing job persevering through all of the challenges.
What to Expect This Winter Typically we have over 200 total guests on campus, over 100 in our Residential Programs over and 100 in our Emergency Shelters. Although our Residential capacity remains about the same, we have had to reduce the available beds in Providence Shelter to ensure safe spacing overnight from about 75 to 55.
Winter always presents its own challenges, so we anticipate this year will be no different. Women in our Providence Shelter have moved over to the shelter at St. Mary’s across the street, run by the Lancaster Food Hub. During their stay there they have full access to all of our services, including showers, food and staff support. Not only does having women shift to St. Mary’s enable us to free up additional beds for men, it will help us keep the shelter populations separate and limit the risk of spread.
Thank You We have been so encouraged by the support we have received this year. Without a community coming around us and our guests, we would not be able to keep our guests safe and continue to guide them in their restoration journeys. We truly couldn’t do what we do without you.