I've been living with a secret. Now I can tell. It's a life after death story. It involves the two agencies where we volunteer when we're in Iowa.
First, the death: the largest agency in our city assisting the homeless was hopelessly mismanaged. Last year the director withdrew, the agency downsized and re-organized and honkered down to try to survive.
Last month, they succumbed to a $2.5 million debt. All our friends who work there were pink-slipped that day. The homeless learned the next week that they had one month before their services disappeared. A colossal emergency...the entire civic community realized the ramifications were disastrous.
The other smaller agency we assist here recognized the crisis. This agency is overwhelmingly women assisting homeless women and their children; they give second chances, sometimes enabling miracles. They scrambled, they risked, they summoned allies. They fought government bureaucracy. The clock was ticking a la a time bomb before explosion. It was Mission Impossible in so many ways.
Against all odds, they succeeded. John Lewis Community Services is reborn next week as Humility of Mary Shelter. Typing that sentence, I broke down in tears. This is absolutely huge for so many people. I'm so proud of our leaders at Humility of Mary--the women religious who got the ball rolling and the agency leaders & employees who do amazing work every day, and now are seeing their responsibilities increase exponentially. "We're stepping into deep waters," they humbly remark.
They are just the people who can do it. I am so freaking proud of them. They are going to keep the plane in flight while they are rebuilding it. The homeless will not miss one day of services.
How's that for some good news today?