Coronavirus – Program and Event Updates

It seems like every day we are hit with more and more messages regarding the Coronavirus. It seems to continue to creep closer and closer to where we live and those that we serve. While our local hospitals and health organizations continue to advise us to follow standard practices, i.e., wash your hands for 20 seconds, sneeze or cough into your elbow, don’t touch your face, it can still be very scary. We will be using this page to keep you informed on training or event changes, volunteer updates, and facility notices.

The last month has kept us busy! Our Community Homeless Shelters increased hours and manpower to serve those needing a place to stay “Safer-at-Home”. The majority of staff began working from home, but with the help of technology, we have continued to provide service to those in need. Check out the difference your help continues to make in the community.” 

Keeping Christ’s Love Active During COVID-19!
Our Disability Services Program, which provides services to adults and students, continues to work with families through online meetings and check-ins. The Driftless Pass School continues to offer educational services, and we are in the planning stages on how to open our summer school program. Steve Burnette, our Disability Services Program Director, has been busy with staff discussing how once the safe-at-home order is lifted, we can bring students back into the building. Through the continued use of face masks, face shields, and gloves, and with the addition of specially made tables to help shield each student while working, we hope to once again be back in the classroom offering services to our families and students.

Community Homeless Facilities – Warming Centers and Sojourner House!
Our Community Homeless facilities have been extremely busy this last month. All three locations had to move to larger sites due to the number of individuals experiencing homelessness in our communities that needed a place to be “safe at home.” We changed our Wausau and La Crosse Warming Centers from overnight facilities to 24/7 lockdown facilities. This type of service allowed us not only to offer isolation services to those who do not have a place to call home, but it also helped us flatten the curve in the communities where these facilities are located. We also moved the Sojourner House in Eau Claire to the Hobb’s Ice Arena and collaborating with Positive Avenues, a Lutheran Social Services Day Service, we continue to provide a 24/7 service to the homeless in Eau Claire and the surrounding community.

We are very grateful to the many businesses, community foundations, and individual donors that have stepped up to help fund the additional staff needed to keep these facilities open. We have also had an increase in the need for meals that we provided.

Our Warming Centers are still planning on closing within the next week. The Warming Center staff, in collaboration with our St. Lawrence Community Services (SLCS) Staff and other community human service and housing organizations, has been working on housing our remaining guests so they can continue to be safe. In the last month our staff in Wausau has been able to house seven of our final guests, with the last couple being moved into the local Salvation Army. In La Crosse eight have been housed with the last few again being housed by the local Salvation Army. We are excited to have many of our guests in more permanent housing, and St. Lawrence Staff will continue to offer case management as needed.

COVID-19 OUTREACH THROUGH ST. LAWRENCE COMMUNITY SERVICES
St. Lawrence Community Services (SLCS) staff members have continued to try to meetthe needs of our community through phone conferencing and online correspondence. In the first quarter of the year, January 1 through March 31, SLCS provided over $79,000 in direct financial aid and brief services. They assisted with rent and utility payments, connected them with brief services, and offered case management on how to use their resources to sustain a more financially stable household.

We will soon be re-opening our office doors and having staff available to continue to offer these services. Just like with the Disability Services program, we will be implementing safety barriers to ensure the safety of our team and those we serve. We will continue encouraging families and individuals in need to contact us through our 800 number and online assistance.

We know that so many in our community are experiencing illness, job loss, and change in income. We are here to make sure there is food on your table, electricity for your home, and relief during this difficult time. If you or someone you know needs assistance, please contact us at 888-212-4357 and ask for a St. Lawrence Community staff member.

JOIN OUR EFFORTS! If you would like to join us in this continued support, we would appreciate your donation. Your gift will help us keep our clients safe when our office doors re-open, continue to work with those we recently housed, andhelp with future requests that come through our door.  Thanks for your support and stay healthy! 

During this pandemic Catholic Charities is working hard to continue providing services while following national and state guidelines. Our Community Warming Centers and the Sojourner House in Eau Clair are still open; however, services are being amended to keep all volunteers, staff, and guests safe. Other programs are also adjusting services to limit face-to-face contact. Many of the services we provide we are able to provide online or over the phone. Please review specific program notices below. We will continue to do our best to keep you informed.

Catholic Charities Notice – 3.12.2020
St. Lawrence Community Services
Sojourner House Notice 3.16.2020
Sojourner House Notice 3.18.2020
Press Release- La Crosse Warming Center Location Change 3.22.2020

As we wind down with the “Safer at Home”, we are preparing our staff and offices to be able to continue to provide the best service to those in need, while keeping our clients and the community healthy and safe. We are still in the process of preparing for the reopening of our offices so please be patient. We will be publishing how those who need our service will be able to receive service once all plans are in place. In the meantime, if you are needing assistance with rent, utilities, food, or other basic human needs, please feel free to call us at 888-212-4357. Please listen to the message as it will prompt you to be connected with the correct department. Both the La Crosse Warming Center and the Wausau Warming Center have closed for the season, but please check with our St. Lawrence Community Services as they will be able to connect you to the appropriate resources. You may also request services by emailing a request to info@cclse.org. Your email will be forwarded to the appropriate department. 

Covid-19: A Prayer of Solidarity – USSCB
For all who have contracted coronavirus,
     We pray for care and healing.
For those who are particularly vulnerable,
     We pray for safety and protection.
For all who experience fear or anxiety,
     We pray for peace of mind and spirit.
For affected families who are facing difficult decisions 
between food on the table or public safety,
We pray for policies that recognize their plight.
For those who do not have adequate health insurance,
     We pray that no family will face financial burdens alone.
For those who are afraid to access care due to immigration status,
     We pray for recognition of the God-given dignity of all.
For our brothers and sisters around the world,
     We pray for shared solidarity.
For public officials and decision makers,
     We pray for wisdom and guidance.
Father, during this time may your Church be a sign
of hope, comfort and love to all.
Grant peace.
Grant comfort.
Grant healing.
Be with us, Lord.
Amen.