Top Chefs 2018

On April 20th Water Street Mission hosted one of its most exciting annual events, Top Chefs that was sold out to 295 guests. Top Chefs, is an opportunity for people in the community to come support Water Street Health Services through a five-course meal and both silent and live auctions. The meal is an unforgettable experience as each course was hosted by a different Lancaster favorite. The delectable meal included hors d’oeuvres by LUCA, appetizer by The Belvedere Inn, salad from The Greenfield Restaurant & Bar, intermezzo by Bistro Barberet & Bakery, Entrée from Lancaster Country Club, and finished off with dessert from Checkers Bistro.

The meal is just part of what makes the event so spectacular. Before the meal, guests can peruse and bid on over 30 items at the silent auction. A live auction curated with 9 unique experiences was held after the dinner, this part of the evening was hosted by Tim Keller of Keller Auctioneers. To kick off the live auction, Tim Keller started the bidding to raise money for a new dental chair and mobile x-ray machine for the dental clinic. Within seconds, the money needed for both pieces of equipment was raised. In addition to raising money for Water Street Health Services, two Teen Haven programs were completely funded. The Princess Experience and Training Camp teach high school youth the importance of grounding themselves in God, leading with integrity and the significance of establishing their identity in God. The energy in the room is contagious. It’s inspiring to see almost 300 people support our mission to help the homeless and the low-income families in our community.

The event was a major success with over $200,000 dollars raised, providing Water Street Health Services with the ability to continue to serve our residents and the low-income families in our community with excellence. Top Chef would not be possible without our sponsors! A special thanks to Willow Valley Associates, Inc., Wendell Funk, M.D., FACS, Saxton& Stump, LLC, Clark Associates, B.R. Kreider & Sons, Inc., BB&T, Aetna Better Health of Pennsylvania, UPMC Health Plan, Fig Industries, Hot Frog Print Media, and Brewer Direct for making Top Chefs possible.


An Update from Jack 5/4/2020


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