Update as of April 24, 2020
Dear Lifebridge Friends:
As you are aware, Lifebridge North Shore has a regional approach in assisting homeless individuals and those in need of a safe environment. We serve this vulnerable population with three locations in Salem (Seeds of Hope campus), Beverly (River House) and Gloucester (Grace Center).
The Grace Center is vital on Cape Ann as a day resource center for men and women founded on the values of acceptance, hospitality, and opportunity serving more than 50 people per day. We provide services and offer referrals to our partner agencies for mental health and substance abuse treatment, medical care, job training, housing, and more. Guest activities include breakfast and lunch daily, along with a range of programs from art, meditation, music and writing to playing bingo and ping pong.
After conversations with city officials to further ensure the safety of our community, the Grace Center shifted operations to the Cape Ann YMCA effective March 30. This site is a closed 24-hour operation serving a maximum of 26 people. We are doing this work in collaboration with Action Inc., who is responsible for the night operations and The Open Door is providing food.
Our dedicated Grace Center staff of Stephen, Frank, Dre, Garfield, and David are managing the daily activities to help with individual guest needs, provide resources, and assist at mealtime at the temporary site. We are grateful to our volunteers who continue to drop off food and supplies. The staff was moved by the action of a regular Grace Center guest who is not at the temporary site, bought pizzas for his fellow guests on the inside. This is an example how the Guest Center guests view their special community within the larger Gloucester community.
There are so many challenges and issues of the Grace Center not being open for regular service to such a vulnerable population. We are gravely concerned about our lost community members who rely on the Grace Center as a supportive environment. Some guests are housed, yet missing the vital resources and truly feeling isolated in so many ways. Other guests are living in their cars or the woods. The Grace Center means community for so many filled with caring and connection, yet right now our special community is displaced due to this health emergency.
We look forward to resuming service to ALL our Grace Center community. I am committed along with our Board of Directors to ongoing conversations to explore options while maintaining safety and good health for all involved.
We will continue to provide updates and appreciate your continued in-kind and philanthropic support. Donation information can be found at https://lifebridgenorthshore.org/support/donate/
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