|Beloved supporter of the Haywood Street Community,
When we reached out to you in the final week of March, our doors had just been closed, we were asking Companions to stay home, and we were encouraging financial contributions from those who were able. Since then, we have been humbled by your understanding, your outpouring of encouragement and your generous and cheerful giving. Please take a moment to read how your support has not only sustained us through this exceptional time, but it has also enabled us to live even deeper into our mission—Relationship, above all else.
With our building deemed inaccessible to the public, our immediate and primary focus became the operations of the Downtown Welcome Table. Understanding the chaos and desperation that predictably follow food insecurity and hunger, and assuming an immediate increase in those facing unemployment, we converted the entire Welcome Table banquet to an outdoor, to-go, dining experience and added an additional weekly meal service. Between financial and in-kind donations, a devoted staff, small group of low-risk volunteers, and an inspiring commitment from local restaurants, vendors and food relief programs, we have been able to consistently distribute 1,500 nutritious, home-made meals, per week. Additionally, we have insured meals for the 64 unhoused individuals who now temporarily reside at the Red Roof Inn West, and formerly at Harrah’s Cherokee Center.
With a system for meals established and knowing that shelter in place does not work when one has no place to shelter, we began to focus on re-opening Haywood Street Respite. Through determination, some inexplicable grace, and available resources, the Respite program was reorganized so that nine of our most medically-compromised Friends were able to enter into a long-term stay, after both quarantining at a nearby hotel and receiving COVID-19 testing.
And it is now with great joy and gratitude that we are able to announce the re-opening of the Haywood Street clothing closet (via a new personal shopper format) as well as our exciting plans for the summer. Over the coming weeks, we will rent and install semi-permanent tents within our main parking lot. Most immediately, these will provide relief from rain and days of oppressive heat. Additionally, having these tents in place will support the possibility of outdoor worship services (in addition to our newly-established, weekly YouTube service), 12-step meetings, and other fellowship groups—all of which will combat issues associated with isolation and provide new and abundant opportunities for Companion involvement.
We hope this snapshot of updates helps convey what YOU have made possible. Outside the old brick church, on the corner of Patton Avenue and Haywood Street, YOU have helped keep hope alive.
For those now asking – “What can I do next?”– here are our suggestions:
1. Email your thoughts and suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org. Your insights and ideas
hold immense value to us and this ministry.
2. Subscribe to our newsletter. These weekly emails are delivered to your inbox every Friday morning and contain timely updates, current needs and opportunities.
3. To ensure our community stays fed, sheltered, clothed and connected, please continue to give as you are able. *A reminder that a donation of $20 feeds 5 Friends experiencing homelessness and exceptional adversity at this time.
Give online via: haywoodstreet.kindful.com
Send checks via mail to: PO Box 2982 / Asheville, NC / 28802
Our deep and sincere gratitude,
The staff of Haywood Street Congregation