Thursday, August 10, 2006

Progress on the Market Street Project is Needed

Over the weekend 11 family member from the Biloxi area arrived unexpectedly at the Mission.  They reported that they had been trying to stabilize since the Katrina disaster.  This is an extended family much like the many we served following the evacuation.  There is a grandmother, an uncle and several children with their mom and dad.  We are trying to find appropriate long term housing for them as I write this report. 


During the hot weather another large family of 10 showed up at our family facilities on Market Street.  Our shelter was full so we called other agencies in town to try and locate a room, but with no success.  Because we are in Operation White Flag we were able to let them sleep on the floor in the “Rainbow Room”, a small room on the first floor of the family shelter that is normally used as a play area for kids.


We continue to make good progress on the Market Street Project.  This week I met with the architect and engineers to begin the process of developing the mechanical drawings that will be needed before construction can begin.  It is a very exciting project and much needed as is evident by the above paragraphs.  We need more space for families and women in our community.  Our existing Market Street properties have served us well over the years but it is now time for a new building that will not only help to serve the needs of our women and children better, but that will be more efficient, safe and require less maintenance.


Tuesday evening we offered the “Gospel Hour” to our residents.  Normally this is offered the 1st and 3rd Tuesdays of each month and we invite a community pastor to come and preach a sermon while the choir follows with Gospel music.  This informal service normally draws over a hundred clients.  This week, Lenny preached via a recorded tape.  Lenny is a long time supporter of the Mission who has often conducted chapel services for our clients.  Recently he has been diagnosed with cancer but had planned to be our speaker at this meeting.  Lenny was unable to come to the service but he made a recording of his message just before he had to go back to the hospital.  His heartfelt message was listened to by over one hundred Mission clients and our prayers are with him and his family during this difficult time.


A number of youth groups have also come to the Mission and worked on projects that needed urgent attention.  Some pulled weeds, painted curbs, and patted down asphalt.  The groups were spread between both shelters.  It is always a blessing to see young people performing ministry, especially when it involves front line work.