Top Chefs 2021 Press Release

CONTACT:

Matt Clement
mclement@wsm.org
(717) 606-8782

In Spite of Business Struggles, Local Chefs Come Together to Support Water Street Health Services for Top Chefs 2021

Lancaster County’s Premier Chefs Will Celebrate Local Cuisine, and Raise Money for Water Street Mission’s Community Health Clinic This June

Lancaster, PA (March 2021) –It’s no secret local restaurants have been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, through shut-downs and capacity limits. But this June, despite all the uncertainty they face, several local chefs are using their talents to support healthcare for men, women, and children at or near the poverty line in Lancaster County.

On June 4th, five local chefs are coming together to create a night of exceptional and creative food, where all the proceeds support Water Street Mission’s community health clinic, Water Street Health Services.

This year’s Top Chefs event includes John Marconi, Executive Chef of Lombardo’s Restaurant, whose personal experience with Water Street Mission drives his desire to give back. “We honestly think Water Street Mission is great and the event is a very straightforward way for us to help support it and our community here in Lancaster,” he says candidly. “Water Street is such an important part of our community, I remember helping there when I was in middle school and any support is a help. Top Chefs is a great one because it lets us help while doing what we do best – making great food.”

Josh Funk, President and CEO of TFB Hospitality adds how COVID-19 first developed their relationship with Water Street Mission, and formed their desire to lend a hand to the community. “During the pandemic we saw how quickly individuals in our community were going without, through no fault of their own. During this time our company began its own community feeding program called TFB Cares. In doing so, we saw just how important Water Street Mission is to this community. We have supported them through our initiative and wanted to continue that support through their Top Chefs event. They assist underserved members of our community in providing the most basic human necessity – nourishment,” he says.

Top Chefs will also include dishes from Chef Daniel LeBoon of the Belvedere Inn, C’est la Vie Bistro and Josephine’s. His experience within the Lancaster community is what drew him to partner with Water Street Mission for Top Chefs. “Water Street Health Services plays a vital role in the mental and physical health of our community. Being a part of three restaurants located in downtown Lancaster, I see a lot of people in need. Water Street Mission does an exceptional job of meeting those needs. Our restaurants want to support Water Street as much as possible,” he stated.

The evening will also feature one of a kind cuisine from Chef Tanner Seipp of Lancaster Country Club as well as Chef Cedric Barberet of Barberet Bistro and Bakery. For Chef Cedric Barberet, he aims to use his skills to lend support to anyone in need, adding that “while helping one person in need may not change the whole world, it sure could change the world of that one person.”

Jack Crowley, President of Water Street Mission expresses his gratitude to these local restaurants, saying “Top Chefs is always a partnership between Water Street and local restaurants, but what makes this year unique is the way these Chefs are choosing to lend their time and talent to help others, despite the uncertainty they may be facing in their own businesses. It’s really motivating to us as an organization that there are so many local people stepping up, who want to support and care for health and wellbeing of vulnerable members of our community.”

The Top Chefs annual fundraiser and auction provides about 40% of Water Street Health Services’ operating budget for the year. This health clinic provides medical, dental, and behavioral health services to individuals at or below the poverty line in Lancaster County. Annually, Water Street Health Services provides over 5000 appointments medical, dental, and behavioral health appointments per year to over 500 at-risk members of the community, helping them take crucial steps in their journeys’ out of poverty and towards holistic restoration

About Water Street
Since 1905, Water Street Mission has provided an environment of hope and healing where at-risk men, women, and children in Lancaster County can find a hand-up and restoration with God. In addition to food and shelter, all guests have access to medical, dental, behavioral health, spiritual, and career support while on campus. For more information about the programs and services of Water Street Mission, visit WSM.org

About Water Street Health Services
A ministry of Water Street Mission, Water Street Health Services offers those experiencing poverty and homelessness in Lancaster County free medical, dental and behavioral health services. Their work helps remove a significant challenge that prevents many from living secure and sustainable lives, as well as benefiting Lancaster County residents that would otherwise be burdened with the additional cost of unfunded emergency room visits.

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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