When I really think about it, I am amazed by the number of people who sleep at our facilities each night. We have 1,428 beds available for those experiencing homelessness. WaKeeney, the town I was born in, which is located in western Kansas, has a population of 1,776 people, and it is the county seat for Trego County! (This means it is like the capital of the county!) The number of people living there is just slightly more than the number of people sleeping in our beds at the Mission on any given night. If you think about it, we are sheltering more people than those living in many small towns across the Midwest.
In this issue of Changing Lives, you are going to read about how important sleep is, but you knew that because if you are like me, your mom told you how important it is! Plus, how many of us ever stayed up too late and then tried to function the next day on way too little rest? It is hard to concentrate on whatever is important that day when you are not getting any sleep. That is why having a warm, dry bed is so important to people experiencing homelessness. Once they can get a meal and good night’s sleep, they can begin connecting with our staff and volunteers to discuss the options for getting off of the street.
But please hear me when I say, shelters are not the permanent answer to homelessness. We are the triage site—the first responders to the emergency—who then work to find a permanent solution. If folks will just come into our shelters, we can help them. They can feel safe from the threats of the street, and we can assist them with moving into a life of productivity and self-sufficiency. It is what we do. It is our mission, and thanks to Jesus and supporters like you, we have been privileged to help people out of homelessness for the past 128 years.
So, tonight, when you climb into your bed, I hope you will join us in praying for those who are trying to sleep in one of our beds. We appreciate you!
Brad Meuli has been President/CEO at the Mission since 2001. Brad joined the Mission after a 17-year career in banking. Previous to his staff position he served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors. Read his full bio.
This post is a part of February’s Changing Lives Newsletter. This month discusses the problem of sleep deprivation for people experiencing homelessness.