A Monthly Hero Profile: Bob Hatcher

How did you become interested/connected to Water Street Mission?

As a new resident to Lancaster, I had heard of Water Street Mission (WSM) from others at church and I sought an opportunity to work there. I joined the WSM staff for one year and developed a deep respect for Water Street; their vision, mission, purpose, and more importantly—the people. The long history that the Mission has in the community along with the support go beyond what you might expect for a “homeless shelter.”

What excites you the most about our work?

The mission of Water Street is to ‘advance the kingdom of God through the gospel of Jesus Christ and to do missionary, relief, and rescue work of all kinds. There is no greater purpose than to glorify God and serve Him by serving others. What amazes me is the ingenuity and breadth of rescue work that WSM has undertaken. I think the broad efforts of the Mission for restoration, support, and the development of youth far exceeds what many realize in the community. Truly a full range of capabilities aimed at more than emergency food and shelter.

What amazes me is the ingenuity and breadth of rescue work that Water Street has undertaken. I think the broad efforts of the Mission for restoration, support, and the development of youth far exceeds what many realize in the community.

What made you want to support us financially?

It should be self-evident by now, I believe in the work!

Can you tell us about a time you’ve encouraged others to become connected with us?

The more I learned about the range of activity the more I wanted to share it with co-workers. I know many of them do not understand what is available and their hearts would be more open to sharing with WSM if they understood the level of ambition that WSM has for restoration. The work WSM does within the community, the goal of restoring adults to a self-sustaining and God-focused life, the youth programs, and the Kindergarten all speak to a comprehensive program to provide an opportunity to people beyond immediate needs.

The work Water Street does within the community, the goal of restoring adults to a self-sustaining and God focused life, the youth programs and the Kindergarten all speak to a comprehensive program to provide opportunity to people beyond immediate needs.

How has your giving changed over time?

I try and do more when I can. My wife and I have always believed that God’s grace and blessings to us are not ours alone to hold on to. After leaving Water Street I went to work in a business that provides more than what is sufficient for my family. I want to take the opportunity to continue “working” for WSM through financial support and on a volunteer basis when I have the time and they have a need.

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Can you tell us about a time you’ve encouraged others to become connected with us?

It is not something I necessarily wanted to do and I almost said no to sharing my thoughts. However, I also want to encourage others who can support the Mission. There are multiple ways that the community can give. What is appealing to people I have met is the ability to serve in person; however, the time or role may not align well.  Consider ways to give financially, verbally by spreading the word to other willing supporters, through prayer, and through advocacy with local and state government.

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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