Stuff-A-Buggy

Driving up in electric wheelchair full of groceries, a man wounded during the attacks on 911 knows how important it is to give back, saying “I’ve been blessed by others, now I want share what I have.”

A young girl picked out food for our guests after learning for the first time how so many will struggle to know where their next meal is coming from over the holidays.

These are just a few of the stories we got to hear during Stuff-A-Buggy, an event sponsored by WLAN iHeartRadio and Giant. Each person’s heart for giving will help us prepare for some of the busiest days of the year. On Thanksgiving, Water Street is prepared to feed over 500 people. In our community, we are giving out over 600 Thanksgiving boxes to families who need a helping hand. But even beyond the holidays, we prepare and serve hundreds of meals to men and women experiencing homelessness each day and provide groceries to those in our community who can’t afford to buy their own.

Knowing how preparing meals is a big part of our mission, WLAN iHeartRadio created Stuff-A-Buggy, parking a classic Amish Buggy right outside the Giant on Lititz Pike. And the outpouring of support and food was amazing! Even though it was a busy Saturday afternoon with so many families and people running around to get their errands done before Thanksgiving week, we saw countless Giant customers stop and take the time to buy and donate a little extra food.

A big Thank you to Giant, iHeartRadio and all the people who came and donated to the Stuff-A-Buggy Campaign.

Seeing that buggy filled front to back with food is an amazing reminder of what we can do together as a community—not just to fight hunger—but to help each man, woman and child in our community know they are loved and cared for this holiday season.

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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