COVID-19 Current Information

rescue mission indianapolis

Current updates for the community from the Wheeler Mission Leadership

July 10, 2020

Dear friends and partners,

 

Thank you for your prayers, encouragement, and outpouring of support!

 

Over the last 4 months, our team at Wheeler has worked around the clock to implement numerous procedures and precautions to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 across our facilities. With hand washing stations, masks, social distancing, health screenings, rearranging dorms, and more, we have not had any recent cases of COVID-19. Volunteers are slowly returning, and our long-term programs have picked back up completely.

 

While our facilities may look different in this season, the heartbeat of Wheeler Mission is unchanged—lives are being restored and the hope of the Gospel is proclaimed.

 

While we hope and pray that this virus has done its worst, we are vigilantly preparing for any type of resurgence. We covet your prayers and continued support in this uncertain time. As we forge ahead in this “new normal,” please know we are humbled and so thankful for your compassion and steady friendship. Thanks to YOU, we can still provide help, hope, and healing in this crisis.

 

With deep  gratitude,

 

Rick Alvis

President/CEO

COVID-19 Needs:

  • Face masks (N95, paper, handmade cloth)
  • Gloves (medium, large, extra large)
  • Thermometers (oral and infrared)
  • Face shields
  • Disinfectant spray and wipes
  • Cold medicine
  • Tylenol/Ibuprofen
  • Bottled water

Food Items:

  • Canned veggies: green beans, carrots, sweet peas, corn
  • Canned beans: navy, pinto
  • Sugar
  • 12 ounce Styrofoam cups
  • Powdered milk
  • Seasonings: granulated garlic, onion powder, black pepper
  • Fruit: apples, oranges, bananas
  • Cookies and individual desserts

Misc. Items:

  • New men’s underwear
  • New women’s underwear
  • Liquid hand soap
  • Paper towels
  • Kleenex
  • Plastic gloves and aprons
  • Trash bags
  • Bleach
  • Toilet paper

May 11, 2020

We are so thankful to the community for so faithfully standing with us throughout this COVID-19 crisis. These are unprecedented times, and we will never forget the outpouring of support, vibrant collaboration, and faithful prayers from our friends and partners.

 

Even while the COVID-19 virus is still a very present threat in our community, I am happy to share that Wheeler Mission is positioned to maintain excellent and comprehensive care for the men, women, and children within our shelters in both Indianapolis and Bloomington. Our top priority in this season is to maintain a safe environment for our guests and staff. Nearly two months in, we have adjusted our procedures and processes and put in place the most strict and thorough health screening and cleaning measures.

 

In collaboration with the Marion County Board of Health and Neighborhood Fellowship Church, we have been able to open and operate additional satellite shelters in Indianapolis, allowing our guests to spread out and practice social distancing. This has been invaluable. We send our gratitude to the restaurants and donors/sponsors who have collaborated to provide thousands of restaurant quality meals for our guests. While volunteerism on site has been temporarily suspended in Indianapolis and limited in Bloomington, volunteers have shifted to preparing and donating thousands of sack meals. Countless volunteers have sewn and donated reusable masks. Donors are generous, providing funds we need to sustain operations throughout this difficult time. To all who have stepped in and stepped up, thank you.

 

Going forward, and in accordance with Governor Holcomb’s 5-phase plan to re-open Indiana, -we continue to build, revise, implement, and sustain our Return to Work and Safeguard Action plans. These plans ensure the safety of our guests, staff (both frontline and non-frontline workers), volunteers, and visitors. These plans have been developed in compliance with the CDC, OSHA, and our National, State and Local, Workplace laws and guidelines. We have also received consultation from experts such as Shepherd Insurance, Citygate Network, and Huntington Bank. While we adjust to our new normal and cautiously progress back towards an open state, we covet your prayers and support more than ever!

 

Thank you for your faithful friendship, and unwavering care for our neighbors experiencing homelessness. We continue to do tremendous good together!

 

Rick Alvis
President/CEO

April 14, 2020

WHERE WE ARE NOW:

 

During this ever-changing crisis, Wheeler Mission remains open and continues to serve our most vulnerable neighbors. We want to express our deep gratitude and thanks to the Marion County Board of Health for their critical assistance during this time. They’ve stepped in to provide necessary testing and health screening, deep cleaning and disinfecting of our facilities, and transportation for guests in need of medical care/isolation. In addition, they helped us establish numerous proactive measures that have enabled us to combat the spread of COVID-19 throughout our facilities. While we’ve had more individuals testing positive at our Indianapolis locations, the Board of Health has helped us respond immediately and thankfully, all affected individuals are receiving proper care and treatment. We are also thankful to the FSSA and Eskenazi Hospital for providing a facility where people who have the virus or are awaiting testing to be quarantined for 14 days. We are not alone in this!

 

In order to protect our guests, staff, and volunteers, we have made the difficult decision to temporarily suspend volunteer activity at our locations in Indianapolis beginning on April 14, 2020. We plan to lift the suspension in May 2020 and will continually evaluate the situation.

 

WAYS TO HELP:

 

We are keeping in line with CDC recommendations and hope to provide all Wheeler staff and guests with homemade masks that can be worn at all times. However, we currently do not have enough. We are reaching out to anyone able to sew and donate homemade masks! Mask donations can be brought (or have them shipped) to our Men’s Residential Center (245 N. Delaware St., Indianapolis, IN 46204) or our Center for Men (215 S. Westplex Ave., Bloomington, IN 47404).

 

Other ways to support Wheeler Mission during this time include praying, providing a hot meal at the Center for Women and Children or Higher Ground residence, providing sack lunches, donating essential items, and contributing financially. Please view any of the corresponding links for more information.

 

Thank you for your tremendous generosity during this season. Together, we will remain steadfast in providing help, hope, and healing to those who need it most.

 

Rick Alvis
President/CEO

March 26, 2020

During this ever-changing crisis, Wheeler Mission remains open and continues to serve our most vulnerable neighbors. Because many of our guests live daily with chronic health conditions, they are highly at risk. The safety and services we provide at Wheeler Mission are absolutely critical right now.


You may have seen in the news that a Wheeler Mission guest tested positive for COVID-19. Thankfully, we had proactive measures already in place with guidance and help from health officials, enabling us to respond swiftly and safely. Our priority is always the well-being and safety of our guests
, staff, and volunteers. Going forward, we are focused on preventing the spread of COVID-19 by thoroughly cleaning our facilities and working with various partners who’ve offered offsite locations to help house our guests. This enables our staff, guests, and volunteers to better practice social distancing. In these uncertain times, we ask for your prayers for our staff and those we serve. 

 

During such a difficult season, we must continue to provide healthy meals, safe shelter, clothing, and life essentials. People experiencing homelessness rely on Wheeler Mission for these basic needs—we are their only safety net. Please help ensure our most vulnerable neighbors receive this vital care. Make a special gift to help now.

 

Rick Alvis
President/CEO

March 19, 2020

Thank you to all who have asked how to support Wheeler Mission right now throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. We’ve put together a shopping list of most helpful items we need throughout our facilities. Please bring your donations (or have them shipped) to our Men’s Residential Center (245 N. Delaware St., Indianapolis, IN 46204) or our Center for Men (215 S. Westplex Ave., Bloomington, IN 47404). To ensure these items are quickly processed and put right to use, PLEASE DO NOT drop them off at our donation barns.

 

Together, with YOUR help, we’ll continue providing safety and relief for our neighbors in desperate need.

 

Food items:

  • Canned veggies: green beans, carrots, sweet peas, corn
  • Canned beans: navy, pinto
  • Sugar
  • 12 ounce Styrofoam cups
  • Powdered milk
  • Seasonings: granulated garlic, onion powder, black pepper

 

Misc. essentials:

  • New men’s underwear
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Face masks
  • Disinfectant spray and wipes
  • Liquid hand soap
  • Paper towels
  • Kleenex
  • Plastic gloves and aprons
  • Trash bags
  • Bleach
  • Bottled water
  • Toilet paper
  • Cold medicine
  • Tylenol
  • Ibuprofen

 

Thank you for helping care for those in need during these trying times.

 

Rick Alvis
President/CEO

Support Wheeler Mission!

Our primary concern is the safety of our guests, staff and volunteers. Many of those we serve have underlying health issues which places them at greater risk, and we are doing everything we can do to provide safe facilities. We are vigilant about cleaning and sanitizing our buildings and are instructing everyone on steps they can take to prevent the spread of the virus. - Rick Alvis, President and CEO of Wheeler Mission

March 13, 2020

Dear friend,

 

I’ve spent the last few days in disbelief as the COVID-19 outbreak has escalated throughout the world and our country. I’m reaching out today to assure you that Wheeler Mission remains fully committed to serving our neighbors experiencing homelessness.

 

To date, no known cases of the coronavirus have been identified at Wheeler Mission facilities, and we pray none develop. To ensure the safety of our guests and staff, we are actively working with the Marion County Public Health Department (MCPHD), our city officials, and Governor Holcomb’s office on best practices for our shelters. With their guidance, we have developed emergency response plans and other protective measures. We covet your prayers during this new, uncertain time.

 

I expect you feel the stress of this outbreak, and perhaps it’s caused a major disruption to your family and way of life. Even so, I humbly ask you to remember us today. Regardless of an external crisis, Wheeler Mission must continue serving men, women, and children with nowhere else to go. We are their safety net. They have no where to turn except to Wheeler. As precautions for our staff, guests, and volunteers, we had to temporarily suspend almost all volunteer involvement. Our staff will be stretched, as will our resources. We need your help right now.

 

Please pray protection over Wheeler Mission, and the precious guests we serve–many of whom have underlying health issues. We trust in God as our sustainer, provider, and healer.

 

And friend, I humbly ask that you give. This is an uncertain, economic time, and we fear that giving will drop when it is most needed…and we do not receive government money. To provide critical care and services our community relies on, we need your help. Will you give to Wheeler Mission today?

 

Friend, I know this a scary, unsettling time. But our good God is in control. And he is faithful.

 

Standing together for the good of our neighbors,

 

Rick Alvis
President/CEO

Current Updates for our Volunteers

July 17, 2020

Dear volunteers,  

 

I wanted to provide you with an update regarding COVID-19 and Wheeler Mission. On June 1st, 2020, we began to welcome volunteers back into some opportunities–our most critically needed positions. A month has since passed, and while things look more different now than ever, our heart to serve our guests remains unchanged.  

 

Currently, any open volunteer positions and corresponding shifts are published to our volunteer website (www.WheelerVolunteer.org) and are open for sign-up. Keep in mind that as of June 1, 2020, we require all individuals to register and sign up on their own (previously a group member could sign up for several individuals). If you need help, please let us know. 

 

As needs change, new opportunities will be posted to the volunteer website, so I encourage you to keep an eye on that page for any openings and needs.  

 

While many volunteers are still needed onsite, we’ve compiled a list of ways you can help from home. Please visit the corresponding links to learn more and sign up, or contact your Volunteer Engagement Manager or Volunteer@WheelerMission.org for more information. 

 

Meal services 

 

Make homemade masks 

 

Attend a virtual training, including Wheeler 101 

 

Organize a collection/needs drive* (COVID-19 related supplies and other items like underwear, snacks, bottled water, deodorant, kitchen goods, etc.) 

 

Assemble hygiene kits* 

 

Make activity kits for guests (more details forthcoming) 

 

Support Wheeler Mission staff by providing care packages and other encouragement (more details forthcoming) 

 

*We request that you contact us directly for these opportunities prior to beginning the project. 

 

Your safety is incredibly important to us, so take a peek at the Volunteer Procedures Ministry-Wide (shared publicly on May 20, 2020) for more information about our process and policies regarding volunteer service. Please let us know if you have any questions, concerns, or need any support.  

 

In His Service,  

 

Natalee Stafford 

Director of Volunteer Services 

May 20, 2020

Please read below for an important update from Rick Alvis, the President and CEO of Wheeler Mission.

 

Natalee Stafford
Director of Volunteer Services

Dear Volunteers,

 

It’s been about six weeks since we suspended volunteer activity in Indianapolis due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and we miss you. I pray you’ve been staying healthy and finding God’s goodness in this unprecedented season.

 

Here at Wheeler, God’s faithfulness has been evident during the last couple months in MANY ways. In the absence of on-site volunteer opportunities, volunteers have produced over 9,000 sack lunches to our ministry from their own homes, churches, and neighborhoods. In April, our community raised $36,217 through our Social DASH-tancing virtual run/walk (the original goal was $10,000)! God has also provided us with front-line workers who have been so faithful every day, serving our guests – the men, women, and children for whom Wheeler Mission exists. Thank YOU for your prayers, support, and matchless grace during this time.

 

We look forward to seeing you again but need to take proper precautions to protect our guests, staff, and you! We are beginning to lift restrictions, and I’m pleased to share our “Return-To-Work” plan for volunteers.

 

VOLUNTEER PROCEDURES MINISTRY-WIDE:

  • Some volunteer opportunities will open for online sign-up starting on Monday, May 25th, with shifts beginning on Monday, June 1st.
  • Opportunities for volunteers to serve are based on critical needs of our programs, so not all opportunities will be available right away.
  • All volunteers must be scheduled through IMPACT, our volunteer management system (WheelerVolunteer.org) prior to their shift.
  • Volunteers must conduct a four question self-screening before coming to any of our facilities. If you answer YES to any of the questions below, we ask that you wait two weeks before returning to serve.
    1. Have you been diagnosed with COVID-19 in the past 14 days?
    2. Have you come into close contact (within 6 feet) with someone who has a laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis in the past 14 days?
    3. Do you have a fever (greater than 100.4 F) OR symptoms of a lower respiratory illness such as a cough, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, or a sore throat?
    4. Are you a first responder?*
      • If you are a Medical Clinic volunteer at the Men’s Residential Center, you are exempt from this question.
      • * Any volunteer who is a first responder will be welcome to volunteer after June 15 (subject to change)
  • Each facility will only have one designated entrance for volunteers:
    • Shelter for Men: Door #2, facing Market Street
    • Men’s Residential Center: Enter from Delaware Street
    • Center for Women & Children: Enter from Dearborn Street
    • Store + Donation Center: Enter the Donation Center
    • Hunt Training Center: Main Entrance
    • Center for Men: Main Entrance
    • Center for Women & Children – Bloomington: Main Entrance

 

  • Once arriving on-site, volunteers will be subject to a health screening including a temperature check and must sign in using the Volunteer Check-In Kiosk, which will be sanitized after every check-in.
  • Volunteers are required to wear a face mask, and we ask that you provide your own. We have a very limited supply!
  • We will provide hand-washing stations, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant.
  • Volunteers may be required to wear gloves, depending on the job and location.
  • Volunteers should practice physical distancing with other volunteers, staff, and guests as much as possible.

 

GROUP VOLUNTEER PROCEDURES:

  • GROUP SIZE:
  • Volunteers who serve in a family or group of 10 or less may volunteer together. Depending on the location and opportunity, group sizes may need to be adjusted.
  • Groups larger than 10 individuals are only permitted to serve at the Store + Donation Center to achieve proper social distancing protocol.
  • GROUP REGISTRATION:
    • As of June 1, 2020, each individual group member is required to have their own volunteer account through IMPACT (WheelerVolunteer.org). Volunteers must also sign up for shifts individually using their unique volunteer account. Previously, a group leader was permitted to create a group volunteer account and sign up for a shift as a group.
      • Youth volunteers (under age 13) need to be scheduled through a member of the Volunteer Ministry Team.
      • Youth volunteers age 13-18 are required to have their own volunteer account and sign up for shifts individually and serve with a guardian or adult.

 

If you’re interested in joining us on-site, please visit IMPACT (www.WheelerVolunteer.org) to see and sign up for available shifts and opportunities. Due to the ever-changing nature of this situation, scheduling of any volunteer opportunity except those available online is on hold until further notice.

 

Other ways to help during this time include praying, donating essential items, contributing financially, creating homemade masks for staff and guests, providing a hot meal at the Center for Women & Children,  Higher Ground residence, Men’s Residential Center, or Shelter for Men and providing sack lunches, or Sponsor a Meal. You can click the corresponding links to learn more.

 

Thank you for your continued faithfulness to support Wheeler Mission – I look forward to seeing you soon.

 

Rick Alvis

President/CEO
www.WheelerVolunteer.org

April 13, 2020

As the circumstances surrounding COVID-19 change, so does our response. In order to protect our guests, staff, and volunteers, we have made the difficult decision to temporarily suspend volunteer activity at our locations in Indianapolis beginning on April 14, 2020. We plan to lift the suspension in May 2020 and will continually evaluate the situation.

 

Our Bloomington shelters are currently still accepting meal service volunteers.

 

Other ways to support Wheeler Mission during this time include praying for us, creating homemade masks for staff and guests, providing a hot meal at the Center for Women and Children or Higher Ground residence, providing sack lunches, donating essential items, and contributing financially. Please view any of the corresponding links for more information.

 

In His Service,

Natalee Stafford
Director of Volunteer Services

 

NataleeStafford@WheelerMission.org
www.WheelerVolunteer.org

April 2, 2020

In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, we originally decided that Wheeler Mission would suspend most volunteer activity until April 5th, 2020, leaving only Meal Service opportunities open for volunteers. We are extending this suspension through the end of April and hope to lift all suspensions in early May.

 

Remember, we still need healthy volunteers to help in Meal Services at many of our locations*. You can click here to be directed to our website to browse available shifts! If you plan to serve as a small group, we are asking that all volunteers register individually.

 

National Volunteer Week is April 19-25th and we are brewing up some exciting plans to show you how much we love you! Mark your calendars and keep your eyes open for e-mails and other opportunities to connect!

 

Have you heard?! “Move your feet” during April to raise funds to help Wheeler Mission care of our neighbors by participating in the first (and hopefully VERY LAST) Social DASH-tancing Virtual Run/Walk for Wheeler Mission! While we hope to see you at the 2020 Drumstick Dash, here’s a great way to stay connected AND move your feet! Registration is free but we’re asking dashers to participate in our fundraising challenge OR make a suggested donation of $30/participants. A donation of $30 amounts to two days of meals, shelter, and care at Wheeler Mission. SIGN UP or learn more today!

 

Finally, look out for more e-mails like this on THURSDAYS to keep in touch with Volunteering at Wheeler Mission. Our hope is to keep you informed, up-to-date, and connected during the COVID-19 pandemic – we can’t wait to see you in person soon!

 

In His Service,

Natalee Stafford
Director of Volunteer Services

 

NataleeStafford@WheelerMission.org
www.WheelerVolunteer.org

March 16, 2020

It has been decided to suspend housekeeping volunteer opportunities. As of today, the only opportunities open to volunteers is meal service.

 

Serve Meals in Indianapolis

 

Serve Meals in Bloomington

 

Please let your Volunteer Engagement Manager know if you have questions, concerns, or need any support in this time. We hope to see you soon and pray you stay healthy.

 

In His Service,

Natalee Stafford
Director of Volunteer Services

 

NataleeStafford@WheelerMission.org
www.WheelerVolunteer.org

March 13, 2020

After much prayer, conversation, and deliberation, we are suspending most (see below for exceptions) volunteer activity at Wheeler Mission, effective immediately. Our hope and prayer is to resume normal volunteer activity after April 5th.

 

You are deeply important to us and we desperately want to protect you and our guests and believe this is the right action to take. Wheeler Mission has no known cases of COVID-19, and we hope to keep it that way. Please join us in praying against this virus and that our guests and staff would be protected from an outbreak. Remember that the Lord has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and a sound mind (2 Timothy 1:7).

 

Please know that Wheeler Mission’s Executive Leadership and Staff are actively involved in this response and taking proper precautions with and for our facilities, programs, staff, guests, and other Wheeler Mission business.


However
, since facilities and programs remain open for our guests, we have a great need for volunteers to help with Meal Service and Housekeeping at the Center for Women & Children (Indianapolis and Bloomington), Shelter for Men (Indianapolis), and Center for Men (Bloomington). We welcome volunteers to serve in these capacities.


What does this mean for you?

  • If you are scheduled for a Meal Service or Housekeeping shift only at the locations listed above between now and April 5, you will remain on the calendar.
    • If you do need to cancel, please do so by following these steps:
      • Go to WheelerVolunteer.org
      • Click “Login” in the top right banner of your screen
      • Enter your credentials
        • Please note – if you have issues logging in the first time, refresh your page and try again
      • Find the shift you need to change or cancel
      • Click “Change Group Info” or “Remove yourself”, depending on your situation
      • You can also email volunteer@wheelermission.org if you need support.
    • Excluding the opportunities above, all volunteers and volunteer groups on our serving calendar will be removed through 4/5/2020, including Wheeler 101.
    • If you are currently scheduled for any other volunteer opportunity and desire to continue to serve in some way, and are healthy (not at risk, sick, around anyone who is sick, etc.), we ask you to serve in Meal Service or Housekeeping only. Please visit WheelerVolunteer.org browse available shifts.

 

If you do volunteer with us in the coming weeks, you must be healthy (not at risk, sick, around anyone who is sick, etc.) and will be subject to a Health Screening and Questionnaire. In addition, in the instance that COVID-19 reaches inside our walls at the time of your shift, you may be held to quarantine measures at the Wheeler Mission facility or directed to quarantine at home.

 

Most importantly, we are holding onto God’s promises. Let’s get on our knees and pray, Team. God is good, and He is faithful.

 

Please let your Volunteer Engagement Manager know if you have questions, concerns, or need any support in this time. We hope to see you soon and pray you stay healthy.

 

In His Service,

Natalee Stafford
Director of Volunteer Services

 

NataleeStafford@WheelerMission.org
www.WheelerVolunteer.org