What To Know About The WSM Outreach Center

Hello to all our local Water Street Mission neighbors! 

Did you know, Water Street Mission has a food distribution hub? It’s called the Outreach Center, and it gives out groceries 3 days a week to local neighbors. 

We can help you meet the bills, and check off the must-have items from your shopping list!

Here’s a few things to know about the Outreach Center:

Outreach Distribution Hours are Tuesdays from 12:30 PM to 2:30 PM and Wednesdays from 9:30 AM to 12:00 PM. For these, we only allow shoppers to pick one day to get groceries, you can’t come both days.

If you come Monday or Tuesday, you have to bring some form of ID.

On Mondays and Tuesdays, we only serve 1 person per household. 

Friday Giveaways are from 10:00am – 12:00pm and are all about fresh bread and pastries. Anyone is welcome to come whether you came earlier in the week or not. You also don’t need to bring an ID on Fridays.

Come every week!

It’s not a one-time thing, we are here each week, and you can join us!

We focus on fresh foods, fresh fruits and vegetables, as well as meats that are usually frozen. All in all, here are a few items you can come to expect. (Note: Items vary week to week)

  • Fresh Fruit and Vegetables
  • Frozen Meats
  • Breads (Sliced, Hamburger and Hotdog rolls)
  • Cereal, Oatmeal
  • Canned Veggies and Soups
  • Tea, Coffee
  • Pastries like cake, muffins, cookies and more
  • Crackers and Chips
  • And in the summer, we have an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables!

Thanksgiving box sign ups usually begin in October, but be sure to ask a staff member when you can sign up the next time you are there. Thanksgiving Boxes include turkey, stuffing, mash, veggies and a desert, but must be signed up ahead of time.

Everyone is welcome!

We are a group of neighbors just wanting to serve other neighbors, so please come by, and we’d love to meet you! 

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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