Mission Scores Well in Coronavirus Testing Results
In a May 2020 WBUR review of coronavirus testing results among Boston area homeless service providers, the Mission scored well. The Boston NPR news affiliate compared at least seven agencies providing day and/or evening services to people experiencing homelessness. They found that in larger shelters up to a third of nightly participants tested positive for COVID-19. When Mission staff and guests were tested in April, only one positive result was returned from an employee. Though without symptoms, the employee isolated and tested negative shortly thereafter. Since March, the Mission has instituted several measures to protect guests and staff against COVID-19, including mandatory face masks, hand washing, disinfecting of surfaces, 6 feet of social distancing, and sleeping changes, like more distance between beds and alternating sleeping guests head to toe.
Did your tax situation change after the COVID-19 pandemic began? If so, you’re not alone. The U.S. government recently passed the CARES Act, which helps nonprofit supporters like you realize new tax benefits, including these: Gifts up to $300 are 100% tax deductible, even for those using the standard deduction. Contributions by cash, credit card or check only are eligible; gifts of stock are not. The maximum charitable deduction is raised to 100% from a previous limit of 60% of adjusted gross income (AGI) for individuals giving cash (not stock). Also, donations in excess of AGI may be carried over to future tax filings for up to 5 years. Corporations giving limit is increased to 25% of taxable income from a previous limit of 10%. As you consider giving plans moving forward, please consider how these changes might enhance your gift to the Mission this year. Thank you so much!
COVID-19 Update #3: Working Together Against COVID-19
I wanted to update you with some COVID-19 news coming from the Mission and agencies like ours. First the bad news: of more than 1,800 Boston women and men who are homeless and tested for the novel coronavirus, a staggering 596 people have tested positive, or more than 30%. The promising news? The virus has claimed only 2 of these lives so far, and the Mayor reports the confirmed positive rate is trending down. Your response has been amazing. I'm so thankful for your prayers, good wishes, and gifts that encourage our staff to serve during this challenging time. On this #GivingTuesdayNow, I encourage you to give again to support hungry and homeless people in greater Boston. With your help, we can continue to work together against COVID-19 and keep our homeless neighbors safe from harm. After welcoming my newborn granddaughter last week (at a safe distance!) I felt the beauty of new life washing over me. May the beauty of new life in spring come to you and your loved ones also. Blessings, John Rev. John Samaan President and CEO P.S. Thank you again for your heartwarming response, and for supporting our homeless guests!
We've been blessed so far. Thousands of confirmed COVID-19 (coronavirus) cases have spread throughout communities in Massachusetts in a public health crisis not seen in generations. Yet in Boston's homeless community, symptoms are only just beginning to show.
With a sad heart, we discovered that our first woman with a documented case of COVID-19 stayed in our emergency overnight shelter late last week. She has been kept under quarantine over the weekend and those closest to her have been quarantined and are awaiting test results. We continue to take precautions that keep people as safe as possible - washing hands, wearing masks, and social distancing for all staff and guests. But we know there's a lot of work ahead of us. We may have just a peek today, but experts predict the full pandemic might peak in Massachusetts this month.
Your response has been so heartening! Thank you so much for all of your prayers, your donations, and your caring words. We're gratefully accepting your support as our expenses increase even more in the days ahead.
COVID-19 Update #1: Navigating a Public Health Crisis
Amidst the worldwide outbreak of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, I wanted to take a moment to update you on the Boston Rescue Mission's continuing efforts to serve our most vulnerable homeless and hungry neighbors.
First and foremost, our doors are open and all of our staff continue to serve. We are working daily with officials with the Boston Public Health Commission, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, and Boston Health Care for the Homeless to maximize the health and safety of our guests and staff. We're implementing protective measures like extra cleaning, temperature-taking, and mandatory hand washing. We're teaching best practices during a pandemic, like safer ways to cough and sneeze, social distancing, and which symptoms to watch for. We are suspending all shifts from outside volunteers until further notice. This follows city, state, and national guidelines to limit people who are crowded together and protects both our guests and members of the outside community. We are restricting food deliveries from individuals, offices, and small groups. Many of our trusted partners and new organizations continue to offer food donations even as events disrupt their own businesses. We are making emergency plans in the event that community infections increase. Though the Mission is no stranger to public health issues, we expect a pandemic on this scale to fully stretch our resources thin. We must continue to provide food, shelter, and guidance to homeless and hungry women and men. Your prayers for protection and guidance for guests and staff members are most appreciated.
And please won't you consider a gift to help us? This precarious situation brings many unknowns, including funding resources. We need your help. Will you give to help our guests navigate this public health crisis today?
The TJ Show Sock Drive Collects more then 41,000 pairs of socks!
After Mission guests received more than 16,000 pairs of socks thanks to #TheTJShow sock drive in 2018, morning show hosts TJ, Loren and Producer Matt upped their game in 2019. For nearly a month over the holiday season, listeners of #1033AMPRadio opened their hearts to Mission guests in the form of sock donations, sometimes by the thousands. In the first week, the station partnered with the Jonas Brothers to award tickets to individual contestants who gathered the most socks. 10 contestants raised just over 16,000 pairs of socks...just in the first week! Over two more weeks, the TJ Show aired interviews of Mission staff and clients and visited Brothers Marketplace to close out their goal of gathering 30,000 socks for Mission guests. But listeners don't stop giving just because the goal has been reached. In the weeks before Christmas, several thousand more socks arrived at the station. And, several more donors referencing #TheTJShow delivered thousands more socks directly to the Mission. All told, listeners, their friends and family flooded the Mission closets with more than 41,000 pairs of socks! From all of the Mission guests, residents, staff, and supporters, thank you so much to #TheTJShow for their wonderful platform, the staff at #1033AMPRadio for all of the promotional support, #BrothersMarketplace for hauling thousands of socks to the Mission, and all of the community members who brought relief to homeless feet!
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In just over a 2 week period, The TJ Show on Boston's 103.3 Amp Radio collected more than 15,000 pairs of socks from generous listeners. Morning show co-hosts TJ and Loren and Producer Matt helped to promote the drive in part by interviewing several Mission clients, including our own Food Service Manager, Dennis, about the challenges of homelessness and the benefit of socks. The drive capped off with a brief interview of John Samaan and a fun-filled delivery with dozens of boxes and bags carried from 5 different vehicles!
The Mission was saddened by the unexpected passing of former employee Billy Oranczak on September 7, 2018 at the age of 66. Working first as a cook and later as Food Service Manager, Billy served the Mission’s clients for eight years until his retirement in 2015. Under his leadership, the kitchen and meals programs provided over 10,000 meals per month to those in need. Believing in the power of community effort to feed hungry people, Billy formed lasting partnerships with local restaurants, grocery stores, businesses, and churches, encouraging them to provide nutritious food to the Mission at little to no cost. He established relationships with both TD Garden and the Boston Red Sox, resulting in creative and even gourmet food donations. Passionate about eradicating hunger among children, he initiated school-based food pantry programs in two lower income neighborhood schools, ensuring access to food outside of the normal school day. A naturally gregarious person, Billy was known for his humor, transparency, and approachability. He was rarely at a loss for words and freely shared his personal story as both a testimony and an encouragement to the Mission’s many clients and volunteers. He enthusiastically worked with thousands of volunteers and formed meaningful, impactful relationships on behalf of the Mission. Billy’s presence will be greatly missed.
Bank of America Builds Opportunities for Mission Residents and Guests
For more than a century, we've helped to give people at risk the tools they need to restore a healthy balance in their lives. Thanks to support from Bank of America, hundreds of residents and guests at risk of homelessness, hunger, incarceration, and substance abuse can restore their own stability and bring economic opportunities to their families. When enough families strengthen their economic outlook, a community of vulnerable people becomes strong and vibrant. We're grateful to the Bank of America Foundation for the generous support that strengthens individuals, families, and their communities.
The Mission was so glad to welcome WZLX and iHeartRadio personality Sue Brady to our volunteer team. Sue's passion for people who are homeless and in need led her not only to shifts in the Mission kitchen, but to connect further with Mission residents and guests and present them with opportunities in the community. In her travels, Sue led Mission President John Samaan and Food Service Manger Dennis Gaskell to Mike Mullaney, host of the New England Lifestyles program airing on Boston's Mix 104.1. The link above plays a 30 minute segment with Mike, John, Sue, and Dennis (left to right below) speaking about homelessness, addiction, life on the streets, and how the Mission transforms lives at risk.
We're blessed by our supporters in so many ways...sometimes with kind words, like these from Marge and Jack: Thanks for your thanks. We have been regular contributors to Boston Rescue Mission for many years. I remember vividly what first convinced us of the value of your Mission. It was an invitation to come to the BRM facility and see how our contributed dollars are being put to work. Seeing the rooms, the beds and the other facilities and hearing how they are used on a regular basis made us realize how important our dollars were to helping the unfortunate among us. We intend to continue our contributions and we wish you well in your mission. It's faithful givers like Marge and Jack that reach those in the greatest need. And please contact us at if you would like a personal tour of our downtown headquarters. We'll be glad to show you around!