From the Desk of Richard Ducatenzeiler, Franciscan Outreach Executive Director
I hope this message finds you healthy and safe. I’m so very grateful and humbled by the outpouring of love and support for Franciscan Outreach and the hundreds of men and women we serve each day who are extremely vulnerable. During this COVID-19 crisis, the true heroes at Franciscan Outreach are our front line, direct service staff who are providing care and support for our guests every day.
With each day that passes, our concern for the health and safety of the people within our care increases. Although we are relying on medical experts, especially Rush University Medical Center, to help us put protective measures in place to minimize the risk and transmission of illness, the need to increase social distancing and isolation practices has grown exponentially.
Earlier this week, we worked together with the City of Chicago’s Department of Family and Support Services to transport 145 individuals experiencing homelessness to a local Chicago YMCA. This action was a proactive step to decrease capacity at our two largest shelters on Chicago’s West Side to increase social distancing in an effort to reduce the risk of illness and transmission.
With this additional location, we are now operating four shelters 24/7. The Chicago YMCA, Salvation Army and the Greater Chicago Food Depository (GCFD) are supplying cots, blankets and food to help us provide for our guests at this additional location. However, the immediate needs of our guests and our shelters has grown tremendously. Many people are asking how they can help during this crisis. There are a number of ways you can help provide for our most vulnerable neighbors during this time. Here’s how you can help:
- Make a financial commitment to Franciscan Outreach to help us cover additional expenses.
- Give an in-kind gift from our Immediate Needs List for our shelter guests.
- Let people know that the need is growing among homeless service providers. Share this link: Franciscan Outreach COVID-19 Response
- Keep all those who are experiencing homelessness in your daily thoughts and prayers.
If you would like to provide for the immediate needs of our guests, we have created an Immediate Needs List on Amazon. The items that you purchase, will be delivered directly to Franciscan Outreach’s largest shelter on Chicago’s West Side. Please include your contact information as a message in “Gift Receipt” at checkout so you can receive a tax receipt.
Thank you so much for your generosity.
Together, we will get through this crisis.
With deep appreciation.