The Virtual Isaiah 61 Awards Celebration 2020

“The LORD has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.”

Isaiah 61

Each year we recognize four individuals who represent Water Street Mission’s values, uplifting the most vulnerable, and turning their own hardships into grace and love for the Lancaster community.

Like Jack Crowley, President of Water Street Mission explained last Friday night, “It’s about coming alongside those that the rest of the world will overlook, and sometimes reject, bringing hope to them in the midst of their circumstances, whatever they may be, and then walking with them on a journey of complete restoration where their lives bring hope to others.”

Four people stood out this year as embodying the ideas behind Isaiah 61, using their lives as an example of how God can use each of us to repair everything from our Towns and Cities, to the mental, spiritual and physical well being of each person who lives here.

The Marlin and Doris Thomas Servant Leader Award

Brent Kreider humbly received the Servant Leader Award last Friday. A man whose father and grandfather taught him that your business is a testimony not just to your skills, but to your faith. “The model that my grandfather left, with the business, it was more than just making money, really were supposed to be the hands and feet of Jesus.” Not only does Brent show his servant heart through his business, but he genuinely cares for people who are experiencing poverty in Lancaster County, volunteering much of his time over the years with organizations like Black Rock Ministry, Tabor, and our own property committee.

The Restorer of the City Award

“No one is home, until all of us are home,” is one of Jen Koppel’s favorite expressions, the recipient of the second award of the night, the Restorer of the City Award. Jen shows her heart for caring for those experiencing homelessness as the Director of LanCO MyHome, working to bring collaboration to organizations across the county. Over the last several decades, she has worked directly with families and individuals facing poverty in Lancaster, as well as spearheaded initiatives that have brought together hundreds of local organizations to more effectively care for those most in need.

The Oak of Righteousness Award

Ms. Nikki was Water Street’s very own award representative, as Curriculum Director of Wonder Club Early Learning Center. Our Oak of Righteousness Award recipient didn’t always see herself as someone who could help restore others. Growing up, Nikki experienced homelessness while both of her parents battled ongoing drug addictions. Even though she didn’t know if she would even graduate high school, God had other plans for her. Not only did she graduate, she went on to work for Water Street for over 20 years, becoming a foster mom to six girls, and going on to adopt four. “Every experience that I go through, whether it’s good or bad, I understand that God wants to use it that lives might be saved,” expressed Ms. Nikki.

The Good News Award

Our final recipient of the night, Ruby Jones, received the Good News award. More than anything, Ruby passionately reaches out to those who are suffering in our community, who are at their lowest point, and walks with and cares for them through their pain. From her own struggle with addiction, she knows the power of God’s love and grace to transform those she care for. In her video testimony, Ruby spoke to those going through a hard time saying, “There is absolutely no doubt in my mind that every single person is created by God for His good pleasure…And because you matter to God, you matter to me.”
Thank you to our sponsors for making this Virtual event possible and sticking with us through the changes to our yearly event. Thank you to everyone who attended and helped us celebrate restoration and these incredible Isaiah 61 heroes!

Thanks to Our Sponsors

We wouldn’t be able to celebrate such amazing individuals without the help of our sponsors. We want to give a specific shout out to our Platinum sponsor Willow Valley (www.willowvalley.com) who played a massive part in making this night possible.

We also want to thank all our award and silver sponsors.

Meadia Heights Golf Club: www.meadiaheightsgolf.com

Thread Creative: www.madebythread.com

BCF Group: bcfgroup.net

Dominion Pest Control: www.dominionpestcontrol.com

Simon Lever Business Advisors & CPAs: www.simonlever.com

Berger Rental Communities: www.rentberger.com

Members 1st Federal Credit Union: www.members1st.org

B.R. Kreider & Sons: www.brkreider.com

Webtek: www.webtekcc.com

Without each of our exceptional sponsors, this evening wouldn’t have been possible! Thank you!

If you would like to watch this year’s Short Films featuring each of our award recipient’s or the event in its entirety, please visit our YouTube channel here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfXVDN76zyod2umyikxGBiw.

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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