18 Things We Are Thankful For

“And now we thank you, our God, and praise your glorious name.”

1 Chronicles 29:13

Thanksgiving here at Water Street has been filled with good food and great fellowship. Our community once again came together to celebrate and to give thanks. Even so, Thanksgiving can be a painful holiday for many in our community. Some face a time of transition and others major life upheaval. But even in the wake of these challenges, many of our guests are giving thanks for what they have; expressing gratitude despite their trials.

No matter where you are, we hope you can take a moment to reflect on what you’re grateful for this holiday weekend. As our guests reflected, here are 18 things they are thankful for this Thanksgiving:

Life. “I’m grateful that God woke me up this morning to see a new day.”

Friends. There are so many women here who are going through similar difficulties, they really help me get through.

Food. “A blessing to our bodies.”

Family. Grateful that my children are in a safe place.

Learning. Classes that teach me about life recovery and “help me see everything differently.”

Community. Staff and other guests who come alongside me, “talking with me instead of at me.”

Love. Meeting my best friend and my fiancé here at Water Street.

Jesus. “If it wasn’t for Jesus, I don’t know where I’d be.”

Health. I’ve overcome a brain aneurism. I’m glad to still be here and still have control over my body.

Shelter. “I’m just happy to be out of the cold today.”

Faith. My faith that God will heal and restore me gives me hope!

Honesty. Hearing people who have the courage to speak truth and ask real questions each day.

Staff. “I’m grateful for Pastor Booth, I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for him.”

Generosity. “I’m thankful to all the people who give to Water Street.”

Unity. For finding people who understand my struggles. “We are on this path together.”

Miracles. “Seeing miracles here at Water Street every day.”

Wounded Healers. Being in the midst of wounded healers who have overcome their own obstacles and now help restore others. “I would not be where I am in my process without them.”

Sobriety. Grateful to be living a clean life.

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An Update from Jack 5/4/2020

12/17/2020

Dear Friends,

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.

Jack Crowley

President