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The People’s City Mission - by Pastor Tom Barber

               Jenny watched carefully as I      started the                                             and expand-         That, in brief, is what the
            passed by. Her eyes, sullen and      Police Corp                                             ed our           People’s City Mission is all about.
            distrusting, following my smile      Chaplaincy                                              efforts to dis-  We are Lincoln’s final safety net.
            without much response or emo-        and a Native                                            tribute free     Have been for over one hundred
            tion. She was like so many           American                                                goods to         years. Open continuously for
            women staying at the Mission;        Center. And                                             those strug-     979,000 hours. When someone
            wounded, angry, mostly wonder-       the list goes                                           gling in         has nowhere else to go, or needs
            ing how she ever got here in the     on. So, it is                                           poverty.  The    immediate help, we will be there
            first place. Against all dignity and  no surprise                                            goal was to      for them.  Always!
            pride, Jenny found herself wait-     that the                                                give away           From the web site:
            ing in line to stay at a homeless    People’s City                                           our very best       The People's City Mission
            shelter. A young son in tow,         Mission has                                             donations to     (PCM) has been a vital part of
            maybe five or six, huddled close-    enjoyed great                                           those in         the Lincoln community for over
            ly next to her. He was visibly       public sup-                                             need, and        100 years. We were founded in
            bothered, watching everything        port over the                                           then gener-      1907 by a number of local
            with great anxiety.  Putting on my   years. And                                              ate income       churches in the city. They wanted
            best face I warmly greeted them      since it                                                by recycling     to demonstrate Christ's love to
            to our facilities, then moved        began in                                                whatever         people who were impoverished
            quickly down the hall. I may have    1907, this                                              clothing was     and homeless by providing them
            said a fast prayer under my          homeless                                                leftover. It is  with emergency assistance of
            breath, I don’t really remember.     shelter has                                             the reverse      food, shelter, and clothing. Over
               Welcome to my world. I am         assisted a staggering number of     logic to a Thrift Store, where       the years, our purpose has
            Pastor Tom Barber and oversee        people. Over one million individu-  income is generated by selling       remained the same: bring the
            a homeless shelter called the        als have been helped by one or      the best donations to the public     good news of Jesus Christ to the
            People’s City Mission. This year     more of our services                and giving people in need what-      poor and homeless, and demon-
            it is estimated we will help over       During the past fifteen years    ever goods are not sold (usually     strate His love for them by meet-
            30,000 unique individuals with       we’ve experienced a new chapter     poorer quality items). Instead, we   ing basic human needs. Over the
            our various services. Most of our    in the Mission’s history. Rapid     now give away the very best          years, more than five hundred
            support coming from over 32,000      Growth! In 2004 we had less         merchandise to our clients and       thousand people have been
            families, 210 businesses and 123     than 100 people staying in shel-    recycle the rest. This recycled      assisted by our ministry.
            churches. Believe it or not, less    ters. This year you can find 300-   product goes into third countries       There are so many ways for
            than 3% of our funds is generat-     350 individuals living here on any  where individuals there can pur-     you to touch a life and help the
            ed with state or city grants, feder-  given day. In addition, we now     chase used clothing at greatly       homeless & impoverished at
            al funds, or private foundations.    have sixty-seven transitional       reduced prices. Over the last        People’s City Mission this
               The People’s City Mission’s       housing units where men and         twelve years the number of           Christmas!
            beginnings were somewhat                                                        clients using the Help           Here’s a short list, but the
            colorful. In the early 1900’s                                                   Center has grown to over      possibilities are endless:
            it seems, most of the                                                           23,000 unique individuals.       • Fulfill a ‘wish list’ for a single
            homeless were single men.                                                       And here’s what really        lady, or family for Christmas
            So, as local churches                                                           interesting. We make             • Donate a new toy
            began setting up a home-                                                        more money recycling left-       • Conduct a drive in your
            less shelter, they decided                                                      overs than we did operat-     church or business
            to put the Mission close to                                                     ing a Thrift Store. And the      • Help us wrap gifts
            where these men were                                                            poor in Lincoln are now          • Come serve a meal at our
            hanging out. They went                                                          getting the very best dona-   Shelter
            and purchased the leading                                                       tions!                           • Donate food for Christmas
            house of prostitution in the                                                       Last but not least, the    baskets
            city’s red-light district. A                                                    People’s City Mission            • Donate financially
            well-known establishment
            called Lydia’s House. No
            records remain of this
            transaction, but I would have        women can stay for up to two
            loved to have been a fly on the      years and receive more long-
            wall, watching a bunch of conser-    term care. We call this program
            vative, upstanding clergymen         the Curtis Center. These single
            attempt to negotiate with Lydia!     room units include a TV, sink,
            Yet somehow, they succeeded,         and small refrigerator. Plus, three
            and the People’s City Mission        great meals a day, sack lunches
            had its humble start. And, for the
            next hundred and twelve years
            we have served as Lincoln’s pri-
            mary shelter for the homeless.
               Did you know the People’s
            City Mission is deeply connected
            to Lincoln’s history? It was the
            Mission that helped a wave of
            Russian German immigrants
            assimilate into our community in                                             operates a free medical clin-
            the early 1900’s, teaching them                                              ic, and has been doing so for       Program Expenses - (Percent
            English and providing families                                               about ten years now.  It’s tar-  of the charity's total expenses
            with much needed resources. In                                               geted at individuals without     spent on the programs and serv-
            1925, our Executive Director had                                             insurance and living at less     ices it delivers)    91.9%
            a primary role in establishing the                                           than 200% of the federal
            city’s Community Chest, which                                                poverty line. In 2018 we            People's City Mission
            later became the United Way.                                                 scaled back our clinic opera-       110 Q Street
            During the Great Depression,                                                 tions to better fund the            Lincoln, NE 68508
            the Mission mortgaged its debt                                               increasing numbers of home-         tel: (402) 475-1303
            free building and used the pro-                                              less using our shelter. But
            ceeds to create work projects for                                            back in 2016 this clinic was     Donate using Charge / Paypal at:
            the community, as well as feed                                               recognized as the third          https://www.charitynavigator.org/
            increasing numbers of people                                                 largest such operation in the      search on People's City
            out of work. In the thirties we                                              country, seeing over 18,000        Mission
                                                                                         patient visits a year. It ran at
                                                                                         no cost to clients, and no       Captions:
                                                 for work, individual counseling,    costs to taxpayers. All the med-     Volunteers: Volunteers from
                                                 life skills training, a library, com-  ical staff, with the exception of   Raising Cane’s serving lunch
                                                 puter access, washer/dryers and     one Physician Assistant, volun-        to our guests
                                                 weekly shopping at our Help         teered their time. And our clinic    Historical:  Germans from
                                                 Center. It’s a comprehensive pro-   provided a wide number of med-         Russian in front of our original
                                                 gram that is yielding great         ical services, including general       building, circa 1915
                                                 results.                            care, dermatology, dental, chiro-    Dental: Our free clinic provides
                                                    However, we do a lot more        practic, mental health, and sever-     dental care for those in need
                                                 than just shelter people. For       al other specialties. The hope is      without insurance.
                                                 many years the Mission operated     to bring this clinic back to full    Many of our Curtis Center guests
                                                 a Thrift Store downtown and ran     operation within the next several      are veterans seeking job train-
                                                 a small operation behind this       years or so. We are keeping our        ing and stability.
                                                 store, giving away donated cloth-   fingers crossed.
                                                 ing to about 3,000 people. In
                                                 2007 we closed the Thrift Store


                        Lincoln 55+ Seniors Paper        Time and Temp - 402-476-9211       Winter 2019 - Page - 2
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