As I sit down to write this letter, I desperately want to say “it was an unprecedented and difficult year, but we got through it and things are looking better.” The reality is that we are not “through it” and we may have a long way to go before we are back to “normal.”
I know that right now we all feel a sense of lost control, of real pain, and a longing for things to be different. And as we wait for the future, a return to a time when we can hug our friends and family without fear, when our children can return to the classroom full-time, when we can gather together to celebrate life and love, I continue to ask myself, “What does this future look like for those who were struggling before all this?”
At York Street Project, we keep moving forward to the best of our ability. Even with our best efforts, here is the harsh reality: the women, children and families we serve will be feeling the profound effects of this pandemic for many years to come. The wrath of this pandemic is hitting these families hard. The need for our services will continue to grow as families who previously were able to “get by” are now plunging deeper into debt and poverty and homelessness.
In serving the homeless population, we see a lot of horrible things. We see women who are abused, children who are traumatized, and hundreds of our citizens go through life homeless and hungry. But we also get to see really great things. We see women gaining self-esteem, we watch them become better mothers, better advocates, happier people; we see children grow and learn in a healthier family environment.
A mother of two living at St. Joseph’s Home said the Chromebook we gave her was extremely helpful. “The school only gave one per family. Having one for each made it possible for both of my kids to move forward. I’m learning how to use it too.” We see families take the steps needed to get themselves and their children out of homelessness and poverty.
We also get to see the overwhelming community support that is critical for an organization like York Street Project to help these families find a road to a better life. You, our donors, have made it possible for us to keep our doors open, to feed and care for our community’s most vulnerable, to nurture the children and break that cycle of poverty for the next generation. With no way to determine when things will stabilize, we look to you, our committed friends and faithful donors, to help us bridge the gap in how we continue to do the work that is needed to care for families in need and break the cycle of poverty.
These past eight months have shown us what true generosity of the human spirit looks like. Even though people were struggling themselves, there was a real desire to help those in our community who were struggling more. Restaurants that were closing their doors prepared their last meals to feed our families, the critical deliveries of hand sanitizer, masks, and gloves, the outpouring of care and kindness has truly sustained us. Your support has allowed us to continue serving families in need, while ensuring that our essential workers were protected.
No matter how long the pandemic lasts, we will continue to teach our women, children and families the skills they need to gain independence and thrive in life, as we have for the past 30 years. We will continue to work for a future that strengthens families and provides a path for self-sufficiency. But we cannot do that without your support.
We ask that you consider making a monetary donation to help us continue this critical work of supporting families in need. Please donate Now more than ever, with your support, we are stronger together.
With my sincere gratitude and best wishes for a safe and healthy 2021,
P.S. Please look the graphic on the home page of the impact your donations have made this year. We are breaking the cycle of poverty together!