YUGM EMERGENCY RESPONSE TO COVID-19

Daily

Video Update:

Dear friends of the Yakima Union Gospel Mission,

These past several weeks we have faced the challenge of moving through uncharted territory.  For 83 years this organization has stepped into difficulty and despair, and we are not about to back away now.  Even in the reality of facing a global viral threat and a variety of other health concerns, we are confident that we can emerge stronger by working together.  This confidence isn’t just wishful thinking. Rather it is rooted in the belief that God really does love us and will walk with us through any storm we face, as He has from the beginning.

The Covid-19 pandemic poses many questions and it will take time for us to discover the answers. But, in the meantime, we want to inform you, to inspire you, and to invite you to join us in whatever way you are able.

Here are some of the things we DO know:

  • Washington State is ground zero and we all need to follow our leaders well.

  • The most vulnerable among us are counting on caring leaders to protect and provide.

  • Those we serve do not have the luxury of just going home to wait it out. In fact, homelessness has shown to compromise one’s health and on average reduce the expected lifespan by 20 years. These souls have tremendous needs to which we must attend.

  • Our staff and volunteers are the heart of our effectiveness, many of those who are older or compromised in health need to stay home and care for their own needs right now.

TO INFORM YOU:

With thoughtful care to exercise wisdom in these unusual times, we are working to minimize the potential spread of COVID-19 by taking every precaution necessary to protect our guests, volunteers, staff, and community members.  
A few highlights to consider:

  • YUGM is partnering with Virginia Mason Memorial Hospital by providing a large tent to assist with medical triage. Farm Workers Clinic and other groups are graciously assisting our work with helpful emergency medical supplies.

  • Our strategic planning for emergency readiness has been carefully coordinated with the City of Yakima, our colleagues at Camp Hope,and other networking relationships. Together we are sharing information, resources, and services to best address the needs of those who are homeless.

  • On our campus, we have identified those most vulnerable to the illness.They are sheltered and fed them separately from the rest of our clients. We are doing the same with all families with minor children who stay in our secure Family Shelter.

  • We have erected multiple tents to enlarge our sleeping space allowing us to keep all shelter guests 6 feet apart. Meals are being served outdoors. In accordance with a study by UC Davis, fresh air and sunshine reduces the transmission of viruses.

  • General hygiene and sanitization efforts are being increased all over our 7-acre campus. Safety information is being posted and explained. Teams of volunteers will be mobilized to sanitize all surfaces and doors.

  • We are doing our best to ensure every client and staff person wears a mask at all times while on campus.

  • We have increased our security and reduced points of entry allowing us to screen everyone coming onto our campus.

  • All our shelter guests are being screened for respiratory symptoms and fever. Anyone who would put others at risk will be isolated and placed under the guidance of our medical team. If someone shows symptoms or tests positive for the virus he or she will be placed in a quarantined room. We will also continue to offer Hepatitis-A vaccinations twice each month.

  • We are working with Camp Hope to relocate any healthy clients who are displaced by quarantined individuals and need safe shelter.

  • Washington State's Essential Business Inquiry clarified that our thrift operations are an "essential function" of the Yakima Union Gospel Mission.

  • As of now, we are opening only YUGM Thrift located at 2011 W Lincoln Ave. The Lighthouse Shoppe on S. Front St. will reopen at a later date. Hours of operation for the Lincoln store are M-Sat, 9a-7p.

  • Safety measures have been added and we're asking customers to follow the latest CDC recommendations.

  • All donations will either be immediately sanitized or quarantined until they are deemed safe per the latest guidelines.

  • Our Medical Care Center is preparing for handling those with respiratory symptoms in drive-up consultations and by wearing protective equipment to keep them as safe as possible.

  • Our Madison House Community Youth Center is closed. Meal support for all school-aged children is being provided through the Yakima School District.

  • Our Search & Rescue outreach will increase and coordinate with other community groups taking essential medical care to those who are unsheltered on the streets, always inviting them to come into safe shelter.

  • An Evening of Hope, the annual YUGM fundraiser event, has been cancelled due to large group risks and repurposed as our UnGala remote support-raising event.  Click here to learn more!

TO INSPIRE YOU:

In the familiar Psalm 23, David the shepherd reflects on God’s strong presence in trouble: “Even when I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid, for you are close beside me. Your rod and your staff protect and comfort me”(verse 4). In our time of trouble, we take comfort as well, knowing that our Father in heaven is both loving and in control. This does not shake Him!

YUGM operates the largest free medical clinic in Washington State and is collaborating with many generous medical partnering organizations, skilled physicians, and specialists to meet this need. Our team is courageous and compassionate. Working tirelessly to deliver the best kind of care. While our resources are limited, we will do our very best to serve this community with the same love we have received from God Himself.

TO INVITE YOU:

We're still here. While the world goes home to wait out the virus, our community's homeless are more vulnerable than ever. While many businesses are sending their workers home, we're still here. Some work can't be done remotely.

  • We invite some of you to consider joining us as Volunteer Emergency Responders. To learn how, click here.

  • We invite you to support our work financially as you are able. To learn how, click here.

  • We invite you to remember us in your thoughts, and for those who pray,to join us in seeking God’s merciful aid.

  • We invite you to choose an others-focused mindset. We can be people who pray, love, and serve.

  • We invite you to hang in there with us; even after an effective vaccine is approved and distributed nationally, wide-ranging implications will persist.

“Heavenly Father, we know you to be loving, compassionate and merciful. Disease does not please you. You are preparing a better place for those who will trust you. As this virus inflicts sickness and death among us, would you energize us to stand up under it by sharing your endless love with those in need, with each other, and somehow through our simple acts of faith to reveal your beauty and healing. We are forever blessed to know you, and we ask all these things not for ourselves but for extending your amazing grace to all! In Jesus’ name. Amen.”

Sincerely,
 
Mike Johnson
Executive Director 

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© Yakima Union Gospel Mission  |  501(c)3 Non-Profit Organization | 1300 N 1st Street, Yakima, WA 98902  |  509.248.4510