Shepherd's Heart Fellowship is on the front lines of the battle against the coronavirus pandemic.
Our mission is to serve men and women who are poor, vulnerable and homeless. They need our help, compassion and loving support now more than ever. We can't just tell them to go home! They have no homes! In these uncertain times, it is important that we bring the Gospel to them, spiritually, emotionally and physically. Thus, we will continue to keep our doors open but with some precautions.
- Our Drop-In Center called "Shepherd's Place" will be open each morning to serve men and women. The food we serve will be individually packaged. We will educate our guests about the pandemic and instruct them about the importance of washing their hands frequently. We will take their temperature as they enter and make referrals to health care professionals as warranted. We are grateful to have the support of Operation Safety Net and Health Care for the Homeless professionals.
- Our Resource Center will be open to provide clothing, shoes, boots, blankets, sanitizer, soap, etc., but the items will be brought to the Drop-In Center by staff and volunteers. Guests are no longer permitted to visit other areas of our building.
- We will hold Worship Services at 5:15 pm each Sunday, followed by a community meal. Presence is everything to the vulnerable. We need to be with them, to pray, to worship and to break bread with them. In some instances, volunteers who provide or serve the meal may need to cancel. Or they may choose to drop off the meal or ask us to come to their community to pick up the food. We will be flexible as we accept their donation of food that is so important to our ministry.
- Our Shuttle Bus will still transport homeless men and women five days a week to their medical appointments, the Veteran's Administration, probation offices, work, and other important appointments. We will sanitize the inside of the bus two times each day it is used.
- Each day, we will greet our neighbors who come to our door, seeking spiritual and physical food. We will prepare pre-packaged lunches and dinners, more so than usual. We will have bus fare to share for those stranded. If we have them, we will share gift cards, primarily for Walmart and Target, that have been given to us for their emergency needs. (We could use many more in the $25 range. They are an economic boost and encouragement to individuals and families in crises.) We will give them food from our pantry. Most important, we will listen and will gain their trust. We will pray together. We will share stories with them of God, who will never leave them and who will provide for their needs. We will show compassion and do our best to calm their fears about the coronavirus and other difficulties in their lives.
- Our Shepherd's Heart Veteran's Home (SHVH) called "House of Hope", where 15 formerly homeless Veterans receive shelter, food, counseling, rehabilitation and more in collaboration with the Veteran's Administration, will be open. We are the home for these Veteran participants, who are getting ready to accept transformation in their lives. We will not be permitted to allow visitors in the Veterans Home. As a protection to staff and other residents, we will arrange for alternative housing for any Veteran participants who test positive for the virus.
- Outside groups: We generously open our doors to two churches and ten non-profit groups on a regular basis. We will suspend that practice during this crisis. One of the groups is a 120 person Narcotics Anonymous self-help group. With regret, we will not be able to continue to serve them at this time.
In all situations, we are praising God and giving Him the glory for all He has done and for all He is enabling us to do. Please know that we are grateful and humbled by your prayers and generosity. Enjoy being home with your loved ones. Be safe. Trust God!
Rev. Mike Wurschmidt
Rector, Shepherd's Heart Fellowship
Executive Director, Shepherd's Heart Veteran's Home