Thank you for your interest and investment in helping us care for Detroit's most vulnerable citizens. Your dedication to our services is particularly essential as we adapt to the global pandemic.
The summer months were less straining on our guests compared to the 30 degree temperature when COVID-19 first appeared in Detroit. Our small staff rotated to remain open six days a week. We were fortunate to receive summer help from student volunteers after they completed a 14-day quarantine. The commitment from everyone allowed us to continue to do the work we care so deeply about.
This year, we celebrated Juneteenth at the center. With social distancing and other covid-19 regulations, we safely celebrated this historic holiday with our guests. With the help of Uptown BBQ, a black-owned business in Detroit, our guests celebrated in style with some of the best food in the city. Informational posters on this historic holiday were placed around the center, allowing for others to learn and hear about the importance of Juneteenth. As a center located in Detroit, we are aware of the struggles that our community has faced throughout their time. While many in this community feel forgotten and left behind, we took time that day to celebrate them. Many celebrate Juneteenth with friends and family, while some of our guests lack those connections and relationships, on that day, we saw everyone come together as a community, to celebrate one another. We are proud to celebrate such holidays at the center, taking the opportunity to remind our guests that they matter, and will always be part of the family at the Pope Francis Center.
When COVID-19 struck, forcing us to close our building, we moved our operations outdoors to continue providing food, medical care, restrooms, handwashing stations, and even showers in a mobile unit. The only program we could not move outside was laundry. With the summer heat and continued threat of COVID-19, laundry is more critical than ever to the health, safety, and dignity of our valued guests. To meet this need, we’re partnering with a local laundromat to restart our laundry service through the use of vouchers. However, this crucial program comes with a hefty price tag. We anticipate spending $50,000 on detergent and quarters for the machines to provide laundry til the end of the year. To accomodate to these costs, we are doing a month-long campaign, Change for Change, throughout September.