COVID-19 Response and Ways to Help

Update on October 6, 2020

Dear Family, 

As you may know, 12 people in our Light of Life community tested positive for COVID-19 at the end of September. We contacted the Allegheny Health Department immediately and moved those who tested positive, and their roommates, to County-approved care locations. Since then, we have been testing weekly, and we’re happy to report that all tests from this past week were negative! 

Staff who might have come in contact with individuals who tested positive were self-quarantined for two weeks and 50 people sheltered in place inside our 10 E. North Avenue Mission, including 10 staff, 20 residents, and 20 shelter guests. Thankfully, we were able to continue serving guests outside the Mission during this time for breakfast and dinner while we continued to monitor and test all staff, residents, and guests weekly 

We are so thankful that we were prepared for this circumstance, and grateful for the many individuals, churches, businesses, and partners who helped us during this time. Also, we are praising God that those who were diagnosed have fully recovered and are back at the Mission! 

Going forward, as always, if anyone tests positive or has symptoms, we are prepared to act swiftly per Allegheny County Health Department and Department of Human Services guidelines. We are grateful for this great news, yet we will continue to be vigilant to maintain stringent social distancing and hygiene protocols to keep our clients, guests, and staff safe.   

Thank you for your continued support and prayers during this time! We are praising God for His provision and protection. 

In His Grip, 

 Jerrel T. Gilliam 

Update on September 23, 2020

Dear Family,

We are thanking God for His protection and provision over the last six months, while we did not have any cases of COVID-19 among our long-term residents and shelter guests. As you may know, last week, we became aware of three presumptive COVID-19 cases and contacted the Allegheny Health Department immediately. On Friday, September 18th after quick follow-up testing, we were notified of 9 more positive cases among our long-term residents. They and their roommates have been relocated at this time to County-approved care locations, and all those affected are doing well.

With the County’s approval, we are continuing to serve breakfast and dinner to-go meals outside of our facility and offer emergency shelter services outside in our tent. Currently, we are not utilizing volunteers inside of our North Avenue building, but we rely on volunteers and staff to serve our outside program needs.

Staff who may have come in contact with these individuals are self-quarantining for two weeks. Currently, there are 50 people who continue to shelter in place inside our 10 E. North Avenue Mission, including 10 staff, 20 residents, and 20 shelter guests. We will be testing these individuals this week and once the results are received, we will determine the next steps accordingly in partnership with the Allegheny County Health Department.

In the meantime, we are continuing to follow all CDC sanitization guidelines and we welcomed a Service Master deep cleaning crew, which was sent by Allegheny County to thoroughly clean and sanitize our building. Our internal protocols for cleaning, social distancing and mask-wearing continue.  We will continue to work closely with all appropriate public health care authorities in order to safely serve those in need.

We are grateful that we have been approved to continue our outdoor meal ministry and shelter services. They serve a different population and can function separately from our long-term program.  Staff from other areas and a few key volunteers enable us to keep these vital services running for the homeless, poor and vulnerable. 

We appreciate your support so much and ask for your continued prayers.

Thank you so much for all you do for the homeless and hurting men, women, and children in Pittsburgh! We are grateful to partner with you.

In His Grip,

Jerrel T. Gilliam

Update on September 18, 2020

Dear Family,

When COVID-19 came to Pittsburgh in March, we immediately pulled together a task force that met daily to put plans in place to keep our residents and shelter guests safe. Because of the processes we put into action, we were fortunate to not have any cases among our long-term residents and shelter guests over the past six months.

This week, we became aware of three presumptive COVID-19 cases on Tuesday, September 15th, and contacted the Allegheny Health Department immediately. Two residents in our long-term program and one of our shelter guests tested positive. They have been relocated at this time to County-approved care locations.

The safety of our residents and employees is and always has been our top priority. We’ve notified all staff and asked that anyone who may have come in contact with these individuals to self-quarantine.

Currently, there are 11 staff, 34 residents, and 10 shelter guests sheltering in place inside our 10 E. North Avenue Mission. Our staff worked with local partners to get a testing site set-up yesterday, September 17th, for all staff, residents, and shelter guests, including those currently at the Mission. We have received some of the results already and they have all been negative. Once the rest of the results are received, we will determine the next steps accordingly in partnership with the Allegheny County Health Department.

In the meantime, we are continuing to follow all CDC sanitization guidelines and Allegheny County sent a Service Master deep cleaning crew to thoroughly clean and sanitize our building today. Our main goal is to protect the community while continuing to serve those in need as best we can. In order to do so, we’ll continue to work closely with all appropriate public health care authorities.

At this time, the County has approved our staff to continue to serve breakfast and dinner to-go meals to those in need outside of our facility and offer emergency shelter services outside in our tent. Currently, we are not utilizing volunteers inside of our North Avenue building, but we use volunteers and staff to serve our outside program needs.

We appreciate your support so much and are asking for your prayers during this time of uncertainty. In addition, there are other ways to help listed below if you feel compelled.

Thank you so much for all you do for the homeless and hurting men, women, and children in Pittsburgh! We are grateful to partner with you.

In His Grip,

Jerrel T. Gilliam

Executive Director

Ways to Help

Our leadership team is meeting as needed to address COVID-19. We are closely monitoring everything that local,
state, and federal guidelines and mandates and adjusting accordingly. We will post all updates for the Mission on this site.
If you are looking for ways to help Light of Life, here are four ways you can help:

1) Donation needs – Find a list of our most immediate needs here.

2) Financial Support – We’re not sure how this will impact us financially and we’re committed to doing everything we can to provide our services to those in need daily throughout this crisis. Donors can give here or mail checks made out to Light of Life to 913 Western Ave. Pittsburgh, PA 15233. 

3) Volunteer – We’re still in need of volunteers. Email Jenny Deatrich at jdeatrich@lightoflife.org if you are interested.

4) Prayer – Pray for our staff, clients, and shelter guests. Please pray for protection, peace, and wisdom for all of us.

5) Advocacy – Help us get the word out! During this time it is important to get as much support as possible. You can help by spreading the word about what Light of Life is doing for the community, and how individuals can help by sharing our posts on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn. You can also share our COVID-19 page with them for out latests updates and needs here: www.lightoflife.org/covid19/

Community Resources

Here at Light of Life we also hope to be a resource for anyone in need of help. Please reach out to us if you are in need of assistance during this time. We also will be keeping a list of community resources and helpful information. To view these resources click here.

Update on March 17th, 2020

Update on March 16th, 2020

Update on March 15th, 2020

Light of Life Rescue Mission is committed to the safety and well-being of all — including our guests, clients, and children we serve, volunteers and staff
 

Light of Life Rescue Mission is taking every precaution to protect those populations most vulnerable and to help mitigate the spread of the COVID-19 Coronavirus. Our leadership team meets daily to review updates and challenges associated with COVID-19. We are committed to serving those who come to us in need and those in our surrounding community. We will be communicating updates to you through this pandemic.  

As of Sunday, March 15th2020, the Mission will pause the following operations until April 1st, 2020. At that time, we will reevaluate based on the circumstances and CDC guidelines. We will continue to direct everyone that is serving with us and those we serve to follow CDC guidelines (I.e. no cold symptoms, no fever, shortness of breath, and coughing, etc.) 

Volunteering: 

The following volunteer opportunities are postponed now through April 1:

  • Women and children 
  • Development, admin, and office volunteers.  
  • Education and employment 
  • Mentoring (in-person meetings) 

The following opportunities are still ongoing (we are developing detailed plans around each and we will send information out to volunteers via e-mail): 

  • Kitchen/Meal Service 
  • Donation Center and Food Pantry  
  • Outreach  
  • Chapel 

 Scheduled volunteer orientations will be held online. We will email volunteers the details and instructions. 

If you would like to volunteer, click here.  

Services adjusted for mitigation: 

 Meal Services: 

  • At this time, we will continue to serve breakfast and dinner to the community at the Mission.  
  • A boxed breakfast and dinner will be handed out to our community members in need if they are showing any symptoms of illness.   
  • Additional precautions are being taken.  

Resident Travel:  

  • Starting March 15th, clients will be required to avoid non-essential travel and stay in the City of Pittsburgh over the next 30 days to avoid potential exposure to the virus and keep all residents safe. Any resident who is showing symptoms and/or believes they may have been in contact with someone suspected of having the virus will be given access to testing through the Allegheny County Health Department. Plans are being put in place to isolate any affected individuals. 

New Resident Intakes:  

  • We will continue to accept referrals for new clients and our shelter will remain open. We will be checking for fever and other signs of illness and will aid clients in receiving any medical care. Efforts will be made to refer to additional services on an as-needed basis.  

Services: All current services at Light of Life will continue with modifications as needed. This includes: 

  • Meal Ministry 
  • Street Outreach 
  • Chapel  
  • Men’s Emergency Shelter  
  • Men’s Recovery Program 
  • Women and Children’s Program 
  • Donation Center 
  • Food Pantry 

Light of Life Rescue Mission Development Events on hold: 

  • All Donor-related events. 
  • Tours of the Mission. 

Ways to Help: 

We need your support now more than ever tcontinue caring for our vulnerable population. Here are 3 ways you can help right now: 

  • Donation Needs – Wipes, masks, bleach, disinfectant, hand soap, spray bottles, Vitamin supplements, and new socks and underwear 
    • These donations can be dropped off at our Donation Center at 635 Ridge Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15212, Monday – Friday from 10 am – 4 pm. If possible, please call 412-803-4146 prior to your arrival.  
    • If you are unable to donate during those times, you can drop off your items at the Mission at 10 E. North Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15212.  
  • Financial Support – We are not sure how this will impact us financially, but we are committed to doing everything we can to continue to serve those in need. To donate, go to our websitehttps://www.lightoflife.org/give 
  • Prayer – Pray for wisdom and protection for those we serveour staff, and for the leadership of our country, state, and city. 

We are prepared and constantly monitoring as new information comes in. We appreciate your understanding as we take these precautions to protect not only our clients, but also the entire community during this difficult time. Please note that this plan can and will change as new information arises. We will provide updates as soon as possible through our social media and website. Please join us in prayer and thank you again for your continued support and compassion for the work of Light of Life Rescue Mission. 

  -Jerrel Gilliam, Executive Director  

Update on March 12th, 2020

Dear Friend,

Concern among public health officials about the Coronavirus (COVID-19) is growing with new infections now being reported throughout the United States. While no cases have been officially confirmed in Allegheny County, we are expecting cases to appear in our hometown, and we will ensure that information is disseminated quickly if Coronavirus (COVID-19) is confirmed in the Pittsburgh area.

The health and safety of our staff, clients, emergency shelter guests, and surrounding community is of the utmost importance to us and is at the forefront of all our actions. 


As a neighborhood partner and a resource for Pittsburgh’s homeless and addicted community, our continued commitment as a team is to provide quality care for our guests and clients.

We are following CDC Guidelines and taking extra precautions. We do not want to contribute to an atmosphere of fear and panic but take a posture of coordinated preparation and prayer during this time.

Here are some of the preventive measures we are taking at our locations:

  • Implemented additional cleaning stations and procedures throughout our locations.
  • Staff, clients, guests, and volunteers are requested to submit a Temporal Temperature Scan and wash their hands upon arrival to each of our locations and we are following CDC guidelines for monitoring symptoms.
  • Developed a Coronavirus taskforce that will meet daily. 
  • Teams and groups have been encouraged to meet remotely and reduce close personal contact in accordance with CDC guidelines.

We will continue to monitor and update you with the situation and alert you if we have immediate needs for help.

Thank you for your continued prayers and support! We are honored to serve our North Side community and the greater Pittsburgh region. If you have questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact us at serve@lightoflife.org.

In His Grip,

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Jerrel T. Gilliam

Executive Director

Resources:

WESA LIVE UPDATES

CDC UPDATES

PA DOH UPDATES

 

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