A Monthly Hero Profile: Chris Walker

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

I became aware of Water Street Mission when my sister began working for this great Organization. As I began researching what they were doing in the community, and the culture within the Organization, I felt very compelled to get involved. I enjoy reading the monthly newsletters, and know that they are doing high-impact, life changing work within the community in Lancaster.

What excites you the most about our work?

Restoration. A key word in their mission statement. Every human suffers adverse events in their lives, some harder adversity than others. The truth is that we were all created by God with talents, skills, and a purpose. Unfortunately due to life circumstances some lose their way or experience setbacks that seem like a life sentence. What I really love about Water Street is that they come alongside of their residents and really provide life skills, counseling, and a perspective on the beautiful creation they are, created by a loving heavenly Father – all while providing for their everyday basic needs of food and shelter. The Bible is very clear in Mark 12:30-31 that the two most important commandments for us to follow are to love God with all our heart, and second being that we love our neighbors. Water Street lives these two commandments every day through their work.

What I really love about Water Street is that they come alongside of their residents and really provide life skills, counseling, and a perspective on the beautiful creation they are, created by a loving heavenly Father.

What made you want to support us financially?

Mark 10:25. Every year I evaluate my charitable donations, and as I have earned more in promotions I have received in my career, the verse Mark 10:25 is always in the back of my mind. It reads, “It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” Money is not everything, but it is an important tool that God has given to us to use wisely. He calls us to tithe, and also to provide offerings (above and beyond our tithe). I count it a joy knowing that every month I provide to various charities, like Water Street, that impact lives and help change the destinies of those they serve every day. At the end of the day, it is not about this earth, rather it is about the Gospel which we know has the ability to change lives and provide salvation to everyone who believes (Romans 1:16).

I think a lot of people want to give, but have a hard time knowing who to give to based on their own skepticism in Organizations. Water Street is an Organization of integrity, and I know is an important positive influence on their community.

Why did you decide to become a Monthly Hero?

I was asked by my sister, and humbled to do so. I did it gladly to bring light to this great Organization, and would ask that you consider partnering with Water Street if you are not already. In that my sister works at Water Street, I get a little inside peak into hearing about the stories of lives that are changed, and as I mentioned before, the culture that the team has within the Organization. Water Street has not only had a profound impact on the residents that it serves within the community, I know it has had a profound impact on my sister too, and I am thankful for the work they do.

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

It is tough to think of a specific time. I talk about Water Street all the time with friends, and overall the value of giving. I think a lot of people want to give, but have a hard time knowing who to give to based on their own skepticism in Organizations. Water Street is an Organization of integrity, and I know is an important positive influence on their community.

More
articles

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