Guiding Light Continues to Adapt to Changing Needs, Challenging Times
The team at Guiding Light continues to adapt to meet changing needs throughout this challenging time, much as we have done throughout our more than 90-year history.
We recognize that now more than ever, our rescue, recovery and re-engagement programming is needed in the Heartside community to help address the twin realities of addiction and homelessness. We also recognize the importance of safely building back a stronger sense of community with compassion and camaraderie at its core. We are called by God to continue this good work, to “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer,” as Romans 12:12 reminds us.
As our country continues to battle this pandemic and care for those who have fallen ill, our resolve and commitment to our mission remains strong. Guiding Light continues to stand beside the individuals we serve. Our adherence to our strong protocols and commitment to full transparency have been integral as we adjust to ongoing changes, a commitment that was recently honored by GuideStar, which again gave us its Platinum Seal ranking, the highest available. In that spirit, we would like to share an update on our progress and next steps.
As you will remember, we made the radical decision in March to quickly move our programming off-site and turn our building over to the Kent County Health Department. Serving as a temporary isolation center, it filled an immediate need to address an outbreak of coronavirus among the vulnerable population in our area. We are grateful to have served that need – and grateful for the support you gave so that our community as a whole could benefit.
In early May, the county vacated our building and consolidated its efforts at another facility in the community. With a now-empty building, staff immediately began preparations for a safe reopening. As we look to safely transition the Back to Work and Recovery programs back on-site, we’ve put into place a Preparedness Plan that follows CDC guidelines and federal OSHA standards. It includes protocols for the following:
Hygiene and respiratory etiquette
Engineering and administrative controls for social distancing
Housekeeping – cleaning, disinfecting and decontamination
Prompt identification and isolation of sick persons
Communications and training that will be provided to managers and workers
Management and supervision necessary to ensure effective implementation
We’ve opted to start with moving the men currently in our Recovery program back to the facility, first with limited direct-care staff. Virtual programming will continue whenever possible to limit in-person contact. Proper social distancing will be maintained at all times within the facility, and all clients will be provided face masks. We will continue to stay in contact with public health officials to ensure we’re doing what’s best to keep our clients and our team safe and healthy.
During the isolation and deprivation of the last few weeks, many in our community have turned to the bottle or to drugs to cope with fear and grief. While numbers are still being tallied, Michigan sales of alcoholic beverages rose 55% in March, with a whopping 75% increase in the sale of hard liquor. We anticipate the need for our addiction treatment and recovery services will be greater than ever as we emerge from quarantine – and we are preparing to meet this increased demand with enhanced safety protocols.
Throughout the past few weeks, we’ve had the honor of connecting with many of our donors. We’ve learned that most are feeling some level of sadness or anxiousness about how our world has been turned up on its head. Some are struggling to stay optimistic with the loss of normalcy and in-person interaction.
We, too, find ourselves feeling worried about what the future will look like. It’s been more than 90 years, and our organization is still facing – and adapting to – new challenges. We do not know what the new normal will be, but we trust in our Savior as we continue to minister to the safety of the vulnerable men we serve who are suffering with homelessness and addictions.
We continue to do all we can with your support, the strong leadership of our board and the guidance of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Stuart Ray, Executive Director
THIS MEANS THAT ANYONE WHO BELONGS TO CHRIST HAS BECOME A NEW PERSON. THE OLD LIFE IS GONE; A NEW LIFE HAS BEGUN!
2 CORINTHIANS 5:17