But then you come back the next week, and you remember why this work is important.
Just in the last few weeks, I have seen things that remind me of why we are here. I have seen my friends who live outside in the morning as I open the door, and hear them thank us for being open. For being a safe place to go. I have seen my friends cleaning up garbage around the church, then yelling at me for trying to help, because “we all made this mess, and we can clean it up!” I have heard my friends who live outside ask me if I am doing well, and remind to me take care of myself.
Just last week, I had someone tell me that our community at Our Common Ground saved his life. And the lives of his friends outside. That having a safe place to go and people that were welcoming had literally saved their lives.
I also had a friend that I had not seen in a while stop by today, just to let us know that we was sober, and doing well, and to thank us for all we did.
This is why we are here, and why we do what we do. And we want to keep doing this as long as we can.
You may have heard that we are going to be closing down our hospitality space for the summer. There are many reasons for this, but the big one is that we are growing faster than our resources. Our financial resources, our volunteer and donation resources, and our emotional resources. (You can read more about these reasons in our most recent newsletter.) So in order to keep doing what we do well, we need to take a break.
Because our mission is about so much more than just having an open room and some coffee. It is facilitating community and relationship. It is walking alongside friends in some difficult life circumstances. It is wading into the complex issues of addiction with people who feel trapped, alone, and shameful. It is learning the best ways that we can welcome neighbors with mental illness, even though they are having a rough day.
And this work can be exhausting financially, emotionally, and even physically. So, in order to keep Our Common Ground going, we are taking a break to re-imagine how we can best live into our mission of community and hospitality in Everett.
And in order to best live into this mission, we are going to need some help. We are going to need some more regular donors to help us keep the doors open, as well as figuring out some other funding streams. We are going to need some more regular volunteers, who can be present at our hospitality space and help us welcome everyone who joins us. We are going to need continued donations for coffee and other needed supplies, so we can offer our community some tangible love to go along with the relational. And we are going to need more community connections to help us better walk alongside our friends who are seeking services. We are hopeful that, in spite of the daunting nature of our needs, we will begin to see them take shape over the summer.
We also want to let you know that we are not shutting down. Our Common Ground will keep going. All of you that have donated time and money and supplies so far, we are still here because of you. We just need to re-focus some of our time and energy into making sure the hospitality space can keep going over next Winter and beyond.
We hope you have a great summer. And if you might be able to help us with any of the needs we shared, please visit our website to learn more.
Because this work cannot be done alone.