LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Like many non-profits, times are tough for the Union Rescue Mission in Little Rock and they had to make drastic changes while still staying true to their mission.
The Union Rescue Mission runs the Nehemiah and Dorcas House, which are two shelters that help men and women rebuild their lives.
The executive director, Dorcas VanGilst, said keeping their doors open is imperative, but it doesn’t come easily.
“We need financial help probably now more than ever,” she said.
A lot has changed since March 13, according to VanGilst, for everyone who makes up the Union Rescue Mission family.
“We knew we had clients with very fragile health, so the first thing we did is we went on lock-down,” she said.
VanGilst said this means no new clients can come into the two shelters, which provide services to men and women who are struggling with drug and alcohol addiction or are in a domestic violence situation.
“Some of them, because of domestic violence or drug addiction, when they come to us, it is very common for them to have some pretty serious health issues that they haven’t dealt with,” she said.
Knowing the close quarters the clients live in, paired with serious health conditions, VanGilst said the shelters decided to shut their doors to others.
“We’re not totally opposed to it if someone’s in danger, but so far, we haven’t done that,” she said.
According to VanGilst, other changes include staff that don’t live in the facilities working from home, no volunteers coming and going, donations left outside for 24 hours to be sterilized, and telehealth for individual and group sessions.
“All of that kicked in immediately. What we didn’t really plan on is that it would last this long,” she said.
The non-profit also had to cancel its 14th annual “Night on the Street” fundraiser, which VanGilst said normally brings in between $60,000 to $80,000.
“We were able to do some of it over the phone, but yes, it was a big loss of finances,” she said.
The live-in shelters take care of everything for their clients, who are committed to change and were at a point of desperation before walking in their doors.
Now, VanGilst said they need your help to keep these buildings as safe havens.
“Most of our clients have absolutely no where to go,” she said.
According to VanGilst, what they really need help with right now is their utility bills.
You can donate directly on their website.
The non-profit’s Happy Grey Stores are still open and taking donations at their Sherwood and Benton locations.
One-hundred percent of those proceeds go straight to the Dorcas House.