Food, Shelter and Hope

by Susan Jordahl-Bubacz

Greetings from the Union Gospel Mission. For 98 wonderful years the Mission has made a difference in the lives of many area folks. Since taking this position a few short years back I have heard so many truly incredible stories from throughout the community on how the Mission has made all the difference to individuals and families. In fact, I was rather astounded by the number of stories I heard. When over the years folks found themselves homeless, having lost their source of income, or trying to weather major health issues they found the Mission. The Mission became a safe refuge, offering a hand up, not simply a hand out. Many of these folks, now on their feet, give back consistently. I've been told multiple times simply from a place of gratitude that won't ever be forgotten. All saying, "I don't know what would of happened if I didn't find the Union Gospel Mission."

These folks in need found a friendly and uplifting refuge in many ways, with staff and volunteers who truly cared.

These folks in need found a friendly and uplifting refuge in many ways, with staff and volunteers who truly cared.

Going from being ashamed and not being able to look anyone in the eye to being greeted daily by name with warmth and sincerity. A place to go, to not be judged, to sit down and have a solid homestyle meal. (It's just like my grandma used to say, "Life with a full belly makes everything a whole lot better.") The Mission is a place where you realize you are not the only one. Indeed, gathering round a table and breaking bread with others helps to fill the pits of despair, as well as, to energize one's body, spirit and help sustain one's health. The Mission is a safe, nurturing place to regain strength, to be uplifted, to get back on your feet! And, not only through sustaining meals, but with the Mission's multiple programs, referrals to community partners and the family style church services available each Sunday.* (*Due to Covid, our in-house church services are currently on hold until further notice.)

During these crazy Covid days, the Mission has not faltered, serving full hot meals curbside since day one of the pandemic....this took moving a few small mountains in a whirlwind, but we did it! We did not falter on what we feel our obligation is to those in need, to our community. It is why we are here, and why we have been here for close to a century. So, as it does take a village, many thanks to several area businesses who stepped up immediately with the to-go containers that we needed to hit the ground running with our hot meals for those in need. Indeed, now was not the time to do less, it was a time to rise up! In a health crisis like we've been facing, those in need who don't know where their next meal is coming from could not afford not to have full, hot, nutritious meal options available during a pandemic. Doing anything less was not acceptable to us. Thus, we made it happen. At the Mission we believe anything is possible if you set your mind to it and have faith!