Thursday, September 11, 2008

Life after death!

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?

17 comments:

FranIAm said...

I am sitting here weeping and praying and weeping and praying.

What a story.

Thanks for sharing it BE, this story needs to be told.

DivaJood said...

This is a beautiful example of perserverence. I pray for their continued ability to do good work.

thailandchani said...

That is wonderful news! Fran is right. This is a story that needs to be told... just to show.. it can be done when priorities are in order.



~*

eProf2 said...

Good news well delivered, BE. Best wishes for them in the long run. And, good for you for being a volunteer. You and Mr.BE are very inspirational. Thanks for the post and for your work in Iowa.

Randal Graves said...

Good news? In America? Did you make all this up? ;-)

Border Explorer said...

"Friends Multiply my Joy" the saying goes, and this is true. Thank you, thank you [I won't add "my friends" to that 'cuz it would sound waaay too much like a certain McPOW person!]

I just got home from HMHI this morning & it's still crazy-busy there with calls from their lawyer, the government, the lenders, their Board in meeting and a job fair scheduled tomorrow to hire replacements for the former J. Lewis employees who already found other work. Whew! What a happy busy that was!

Really, I'm just ecstatic, and I admire those women so much. From my ringside seat on the action I can see how they have stretched to make this happen, starting the new operations at 8 AM Saturday.

Thanks so much for chiming in with your moving comments. You all mean so much to me. Wonderful, caring people...that's what you are.

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

I'm so glad to read some good news on this day of mourning and remembrance. May God richly bless them in doing this work, which I know is so near to his heart.

Border Explorer said...

Ruth, I join my prayer to yours that some goodness can arise from the destruction and evil we mourn today. Thanks for your good wishes.

susan said...

Thanks for telling us about the original story and it's happy aftermath.

susan said...

Thanks for the story and the happy result.

ps - Pay no attention to the grumpy Randal. He's nicer than he wants you to guess.

Mariamariacuchita said...

That is wonderful.

People are not homeless because they prefer it...my nephew works at the local homeless shelter here and there are so many people these days with problems and needs.

If we do not help, what is the point? Why are we here?

Border Explorer said...

Thanks, Susan.
...Whatever would I do without Randal? How did I get along without him?

Maria, I blame Ronald Reagan for turning us in a very bad direction. But blame doesn't help. As you say, it's all about the choices we make of how we're doing to direct our life energy.

earlbo said...

My wife and I are both from Burlington, just down stream from Davenport. I'm glad the homeless shelter will be able to keep operating. That's good news.

Ronnie Raygun got a lotta mileage out of his "welfare Queen" slurs. Almost as much mileage as the current wrecking crews are getting off on "community organizers"

Border Explorer said...

Earlbo: Howdy, Neighbor!
Recently I'm so aware and so sad that these campaigns are all about the staging.

seev said...

Great news on that, BE. It's wonderful it worked out the way it did. Persistence through it all can pay off, even in America!

Fran said...

It's refreshing to hear such good news- being able to help those in need at a time like this when so many more are in need.
Fantastic!

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