“Understanding a New Normal”
Our clients come from incarceration; a place where your movement is restricted. You are limited in your ability to see and communicate with loved ones. You work daily and are only paid $6 a year for Christmas. While incarcerated, you are 100% dependent on the government to provide for you.
Over the last couple months, we, as a community, have experienced small aspects of what incarceration looks like and many of us are struggling with it. The only difference is when you’re in prison you can’t spend your day watching Tiger King, eating brownies, and contemplating “Is this real life?” Or is that just me…?
On a more serious note, I wanted to touch base with all of you to let you know we are still fighting the good fight. We have made and experienced some changes. We closed to the public temporarily to be as safe as possible with our residents’ health. The Lord has really watched over us and kept all of our men healthy. None of our employers have done any layoffs so our residents are still working, which is a blessing to be able to keep them in a routine. Some of our partner organizations have had to pull out of the Returning Home Center temporarily. We can’t wait until they are all back. They are vital to the success of our clients. We are not allowing volunteers to teach classes to keep them healthy. We miss them so much. I know the residents do. They are sick of seeing our faces in class each day, which means the staff has had to really step it up and take on more roles to keep everything covered. Our Graduate Support Staff have stepped up big time. They are getting people to appointments, making food bank runs, teaching classes, and so much more. Our donors have showed up and showed out during this time. When things get tough it opens the door for the Lord to show off and He has been doing so daily at the Returning Home Center.
To fill you in on our new normal, we are not slowing down during COVID-19; instead, Phoenix Recovery said, “Let’s take this to a whole new level!” Phoenix has expanded from 55 beds to now 67 beds. We have not been forgotten as an organization during this time. From the people who drop off gallons of milk, the person that donated 435 rolls of toilet paper yesterday (5 weeks of toilet paper here YES!), random hygiene drop offs at our door, to the donors that have gone above and beyond lately - you have not forgotten us and we will not forget those who need us most right now. You empower us daily to serve this community. We have six men released from prison today and are on a bus headed our way. We are able to provide underwear, socks, shoes, clothing, hygiene, food, classes, employment assistance, counseling, a roof over their head, and assistance with medication and identification. All of this is possible because you feed our passion to serve. Thank you, thank you, and thank you! Returning Home isn’t going anywhere. We are just getting started.