Here in LA it is sunny and mild. I plugged in my phone and enjoyed a hot shower and breakfast. Yet I am mindful from the constant updates from CNN and others that my friends and family back east are not so well off.
I have called my mother every day and she still does not have power. She is far from homeless with friends and family to rely on during the cleanup. But for so many others it is not the same.
I received this e-mail update that expresses what the Los Angeles Mission and the other 270 some member missions across the country seek to do each and every day for those in need:
From the Bowery Mission—keep us in your prayers —
The Bowery Mission is an oasis of light and warmth on New York’s Lower East Side tonight, in a huge section of a city that has taken on many third world qualities. There is no power south of 29th Street in Manhattan, except for isolated generators, and there are no restaurants or grocery stores open.
Some shelters and social services providers are unable to put real meals together—one well known shelter had bread and syrup for lunch today.
Against this, the Bowery Mission is a haven of hospitality tonight, drawing men and women from all over the area who need a hand in a dark neighborhood that seems suddenly unlike the New York they know.
Last night the 70 men in our program welcomed some 140 more men who slept on the chapel floor, the cafeteria floor and the upstairs conference room floor to escape the driving rain and blowing debris—at 5pm tonight more than 100 new guests had already gathered—sitting quietly in the chapel waiting for dinner and a kind word—unwilling to sleep in a street world that had suddenly become more menacing. Fifteen women walked from a shelter where there was to be no food service tonight and were welcomed by our staff.
The ingenuity of the staff, honed by many years of striving to be the best, kicked in today to make this happen—a 5500KW Honda generator was donated by a wonderful contractor and the staff went to work stringing work lights in the public areas and connecting the freezers on an hourly rotating basis. Not elegant but a startling oasis on a black street with our doors wide open and hundreds of extra meals available from our large pantry.
Hardship is something the men of our community are used to—and in this case it has pulled our staff and recovery program students all together to serve those who need it the most in a dark City.
From the New York City Mission –Craig Mayes reports that they had double their normal intake for shelter, and now have a generator after the storm.
It is comforting to know that we are called to serve in the normal time and when it’s not so easy! Go AGRM team and all those serving others in this terrible catastrophe.
To help a Mission go to: http://www.agrm.org/agrm/Hurricane_Sandy.asp
-Herb Smith, President