Before I began working with the homeless, I had never talked to someone who would be listed as a homicide victim within a few days. Or met a child that had lived in a car for four months. Or had lunch with someone who had slept in an alley and eaten their meals from a dumpster. Now that I’ve been at the Mission for sixteen years, I can say that every one of those things has happened, and more. I have come to realize that helping the homeless is far more than just another good cause. It’s literally about people making it or not. It’s life or death.
People often ask me what it’s like to be homeless. Well, homeless is to be vulnerable. Vulnerable to violence, abuse, sexual exploitation. I’ve met very few people that really want to live like that. Yet getting out of their predicament can be very hard to do. For some, impossible.
There are people who tell me the homeless need to pull themselves out of their situation by just trying harder. But most need a compassionate helping hand to even survive.
That’s the sad, raw, and frustrating news. But here’s the good news. Helping those experiencing homelessness and poverty CAN be done. We may not be able to end homelessness in the world, but we can end homelessness for the single mom and her kids who came to us after fleeing a dangerous relationship, and found safety and support. And for the man who’s drug addiction cost him his job and his family, but who is getting a second chance through our Curtis Center program. When folks come to the Mission, they receive so much more than just food and shelter. They are given tools to help them find jobs and housing, budget their finances, be better parents, repair relationships, the list goes on. All of these resources are available to all of our guests.
This year it is estimated we will help over 30,000 unique individuals with our various services. Most of our support comes from over 32,000 families, 210 businesses, 123 churches, and various organizations. Believe it or not, less than 3% of our funds are generated with state or city grants, federal funds, or private foundations. That means that we depend on you to continue the work we do serving the homeless and impoverished. Every gift, large or small, makes a difference in the lives of the most vulnerable. Will you help them? Will you give them a hand up?
Yes, it can be disheartening to see the need and not be able to fix it for everyone, but you can start by helping one.
God’s rich blessings!
Services Offered at the Mission – More Than Just Shelter:
Family Shelter: Casework for housing, jobs, childcare, legal assistance and more. Our children get to school each day, homework help, summer & holiday programs & more.
Men’s Shelter: Housing referrals & job assistance. Drug & alcohol treatment referrals.
Curtis Center: Two year transitional program that aids men coming out of incarceration & those wanting to permanently leave homelessness.
Free Clinic: Free dental, chiropractic, & mental wellness care to uninsured residents of Lancaster County
Safe Place: Crisis resources for youth that need immediate help & safety.
Connections: Campus church for anyone in the community, including children’s church.
Help Center: Free food, clothing, shoes, furniture, housewares, diapers, toiletries, etc. for the impoverished in Lincoln.
Memorial Garden: A place of remembrance for those who die homeless, and a final resting ground for some.