Despite COVID-19 guidelines restricting the number of patrons they can serve, The Bowery Mission, a Christian homeless shelter in New York City, is successfully serving the homeless community in the city.
“We have not missed a beat, but every beat has changed," James Winans, president and CEO of The Bowery Mission, told CBN News.
"Bowery Mission never shut down. On March 15th we were serving meals indoors in our dining hall around tables. On March 16th we were serving meals outdoors to go on a socially distanced line. It was an incredible adjustment,” he shared.
On their website they state, "We continue to offer essential meal, shelter, and residential programs, despite having temporarily suspended some larger gatherings. We have also modified all programs and services in accordance with the latest guidance from the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) and the NYC Department of Health & Mental Hygiene (DOHMH).”
While the shelter has been able to successfully serve many in the community while also following new COVID-19 restrictions, Winans shares it has not been easy, noting that the restrictions have taken their toll.
Amid the lockdowns, "We saw double the number of people coming for meals than we were used to serving. We would often open our doors to 250 people. Now we have 500 on the line. And these were folks not necessarily experiencing homelessness. These were folks who had recently lost jobs. They had no income, and they were looking for emergency food."
The Bowery Mission was founded in the 1870s and also helped out during the Influenza pandemic of 1918. In addition to providing meals, they have a campus that houses 125 people and an overnight shelter that houses around 130 people a night. At another campus, they offer showers and clean clothes to residents, a program they could recently start back up now that lockdown orders allowed them to. However, the showers are on a "limited, modified basis." You can give to the program by clicking this link here. Also, you can learn how to donate food and other goods by clicking this link here.
Photo courtesy: Luca Bravo/Unsplash
John Paluska has been a contributor for Christian Headlines since 2016 and is the founder of The Daily Fodder, a news outlet he relaunched in 2019 as a response to the constant distribution of fake news.