COVID-19 UPDATE

There’s no way around it, this is an uncertain time for all of us.

We know that every person has been personally impacted in some way. Below is how the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission has been impacted, as well as all the information you need to know about how we’re responding.

 

 

April 7, 2020

Now Our Mission Is Even More Important

In the midst of the pandemic, many other agencies and services have been shut down, leaving our homeless neighbors here in Santa Barbara with even fewer options. That means our work is even more important!

Our beds are already at capacity, but we’re using support and donations from friends like you to do everything we can to continue sharing God’s love with people in desperate need.

Changes and Updates Include:

    • • More meals: We’re providing 60-75 more meals every day.
    • • Safe hygiene: Our shower facilities remain available even to guests who aren’t staying with us. We’ve also added handwashing stations to give everyone the opportunity to stay as clean and healthy as possible.
    • • Added protocols for social distancing: We’ve added special tables in the chapel to help keep guests six feet apart while they eat.
    • • Special health protocols: Our staff is trained to always be listening for respiratory issues such as coughing and sneezing. Also, the CDC guidelines were updated recommending cloth face coverings. Between the Women’s Auxiliary and Calvary Chapel Santa Barbara, hundreds of bandannas and scarves were donated over the weekend for our homeless guests. A few of the Auxiliary members can sew, so they are providing handmade fabric masks to be used by the cooks since Public Health now requires face masks for them, as well.
    • • Using disposable kitchenware: We’ve switched to disposable kitchen items for the time being. During this time, the serving and handling of used dishes would not be good for our residents who work in the kitchen.

All this is only possible because of the generosity of partners like you!

“We can only turn on the lights because donors give us a dollar. We are the hands and feet of our community and the compassion of our community. That’s a pretty important mission and something that we don’t take for granted,” President Rolf Geyling says.

Looking Ahead

None of us know what the future will hold a month or two from now, so for now we’re taking it week by week. And this week is Easter week, which means we’re prepping to celebrate in a big way!

The Easter Feast will have special touches thanks to colorful plastic table cloths, donated flowers from Trader Joe’s, and placemats that donors signed and colored.

All our Easter Feast meals will be served in compostable to-go boxes, but that won’t stop us from pulling out all the stops and serving ham, mac and cheese, Wes’ Famous Carrots, salad and an option of carrot or chocolate cake for dessert. If you’d like to give a gift to provide meals, click here.

Special Thanks

We want to take a moment to thank our staff, who are working tirelessly during this season. More than half of our staff are Mission graduates, so they know what our guests are walking through and how important it is to offer them support, even as they put their own health on the line.

“What’s amazing to me is that the people go so far beyond anything that their jobs would require, and that’s extremely inspirational,” Rolf says.

And a big thank you to YOU! Thank you for standing with us through your donations, support, prayers, and generosity. We will get through this. It’s not easy, but it’s worth it.

“Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” – John 15:13

 

March 27, 2020

You may have heard that homeless people are even more vulnerable during this time of turmoil. We sat down with Kevin Carroll, the Mission’s Homeless Services Director, to find out why. We also asked him to give us a glimpse into what it’s like for our poor and needy neighbors during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Q: What would you say about the risk of the virus for the people we serve?

A: It first starts with their vulnerability. Because their health already isn’t stellar living out in the elements, they may already have compromised immune systems. My understanding is that this kind of virus preys on vulnerability. Addiction also lowers your immune system.

Q: Why is it hard for homeless people to follow the health guidelines (washing hands frequently, not touching your face, staying six feet away from other people)?

A: Hygiene is probably the first thing that people forget to do when they’re out on the streets. Imagine yourself camping. You might wash your hands, but you don’t always get super clean. And so that’s the joy of having showers and having all that stuff here that we can offer as services to people. It’s mandatory that they wash their hands when they come into the building.

Q: What would you say the climate is among the guests?

A: Because we’ve changed our operations, I think people think this is becoming more real. There’s fear and anxiety that is ramping up amongst our guests. I just had a conversation with a guest last night. It’s her first time being homeless. She’s scared. She doesn’t know what to do. She’s like a fish out of water.

Q: How are you feeling in the face of all of this?

A: I mean, you just batten down the hatches and hold on and ride it out. . .This is new territory for everyone. I kind of feel like I’m here to help manage this, but wow. Who would have foreseen this? I told someone yesterday in an email that we’re being Jesus in a whole lot of practical ways to people.

A special thanks to Kevin for his time, and a special thanks to you reading this right now. Your support is critical in continuing to serve our guests during this pandemic. You are making it possible to “be” Jesus and share His light and hope during this trying time.

 

March 17, 2020

Santa Barbara Rescue Mission is working within the guidelines of the local, state and federal governments and monitoring the situation very closely. In times like this, we know that our homeless guests and residents are even more at risk and need our services and prayers maybe more than ever.

Here is how we’ve changed our services:

We’ve increased the frequency at which we sanitize everything. We’ve always done this but are doing it now with more vigor.

We’ve rented hand-washing stations and have made it mandatory that homeless guests wash their hands thoroughly before entering the Mission.

For meal service, we are serving our homeless guests and men’s program residents separately. Men in our Recovery Program (who are staying at the Mission) are still being served in the dining room. Homeless Guests are being served in our chapel, in shifts, ensuring they have the required six feet of separation from one another.

We have purchased two non-touch infrared thermometers to monitor temperatures.

We have adjusted sleeping arrangements to provide as much space as possible between guests.

We have asked all our scheduled volunteers to not come to the Mission at this time.

All of our non-program staff members are working from home.

Here is what you can do:

PRAY. The Mission, our homeless guests and residents, our community, our city and our entire world need all the prayers we can get. Please pray for the virus to decline and that God would keep all of those serving so sacrificially safe and healthy.

GIVE. We are still providing meals, and our 12-month Residential Drug and Alcohol Treatment Program is still running. If you’re able to donate, please click here.

We’re grateful to all be able to stand together during this time, and we pray for you and your family, as well as God’s grace over the entire Santa Barbara community.