15 May 2020

The Covid-19 in the USA: a letter from Emmaus House

A year has passed since our social project began with the women of Emmaus House, in Michigan, in the United States. Emmaus House welcomes and cares for women who have experienced difficulty in the past such as being recently released from prison or rehabilitation centers, women who need guidance and support to achieve autonomy.

Emmaus House women are also facing the health emergency and their manager, Joan Douglas, wrote a letter a couple of weeks ago in which they tell us how Coronavirus changed their routine.

In a short period of time the situation has deteriorated: five of them have not made it. They left the house and went back to live on the street. Avoiding addiction is even more difficult when you lose your job and when social distancing prevents us from sharing our fears, being in a group, communicating and embracing each other. Small gestures that are fundamental for those who need support.

The sense of loneliness is really difficult to face but we, thanks to the help of many donors, are there to support those who are remain and for all the women who will knock on their door.

This is the letter received from Emmaus House:

Dear Friends,

"The two were going to a village names Emmaus...and Jesus drew near and walked with them." - Luke 24:13-1

This concept of "walking together" is the foundation Emmaus House was built upon. Sr. Marietta believed our guests needed to live in communities of support, of sisterhood, of attending and participating in group meetings, counseling sessions, and attending church/ mass services, in order to win the battle with addiction and live positive, productive lives.

We have followed this model, refined it, searched for ways to efficiently allow for more positive group experiences, including monthly outings or "field trips." We have visited Dow Gardens, attended Loons
Baseball games, gone on picnics, participated in sobriety walks and festivals, and tested our skills at the bowling alley. These events brought laughter and a time to have fun and feel unburdened.

Since the Coronavirus has struck the United States and Michigan, we, in Saginaw County, have been hit hard with 369 Covid-19 cases diagnosed and 24 deaths. At Emmaus, we have followed the Governor's Executive Order to "Stay home, stay safe." All meetings and Christian services have been cancelled. The guests meet together daily with Executive Director, Donna Clarke, to share their concerns and frustrations, but the daily routine to which they were accustomed, has ground to a halt.

We are fortunate to have a food supply delivered bi-weekly through Hidden Harvest; however, our program a (501(c) 3) relies solely upon donations and grants. From March 13, when the Governor's order went into place through today's date, our donations have dropped by 42%. Churches are not in session, one of our most faithful resources. Individual donors are facing unemployment, reduced wages, and small business owners face closure or have shut down. During the week of March 13, 129.000 Michigan residents filed for unemployment.

In the last week at Emmaus, we have lost 5 guests who have returned to the streets, and we grieve this terrible loss. We pray that they will find their way to treatment and, then, will reach out to us to return.
We continue to pray for guidance. We wash our hands and deep clean our homes; we practice social distancing. And, we hope for a better tomorrow.

We are so grateful for your kind and generous support. Next week, MaryKay and MaryLynn from the UMBRAGROUP are bringing supplies and lunch to our guests. This lifts spirits. And, we pray for everyone around the world to have faith and believe a better time lies ahead.

Gratefully,
Joan Douglas

"Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you.  I do not give to you as the world gives.  Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid."  - John 14:27

Donate now for the women of Emmaus House.

 

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