The Back Bay Mission website will be down for a while on Thursday, December 7, 2017, while we perform some maintenance. We don’t expect this to take long. Thanks for your patience.
Soon, it will be time to wish each other a happy New Year! And with each joyous new year comes a new Back Bay Mission mission trip calendar!
Mission trips to Back Bay Mission are a great way to learn about poverty, serve the poor and marginalized of the Mississippi Gulf Coast, and build community in your group. Volunteers serve in our housing rehabilitation program, our client-choice food pantry, and the Micah Day Center. Some volunteers are also able to serve in other ministries or with our partner agencies. This is the best mission trip opportunity in the United Church of Christ and one of the best in the country (or, for that matter, the world). It is a truly life-changing experience that keeps volunteers coming back again and again.
The 2019 mission trip calendar opens at midnight central time on January 1, 2018. Highly desirable dates (summer and spring break season) fill up fast, so make your reservation as soon as possible by sending an email with your information and the dates you want to our . All requests are honored on a first come, first served basis.
You can see a preview of our 2019 calendar, and learn what dates are available, here.
As the end of the year approaches, you’re probably thinking about your next gift to Back Bay Mission. We want to share some important information – especially important if you want to claim your gift on you taxes for this year – about end of year gifts to the Mission.
If you’re mailing your gift to Back Bay Mission, it must be postmarked by December 31, 2017. Gifts postmarked after that date will be counted for 2018. Please mail your gifts to Back Bay Mission, PO Box 288, Biloxi, MS 39533.
If you’re making your gift on our website, you must make the gift by 11:59pm central time on December 31, 2017. You can make your gift here.
Thank you for strengthening neighborhoods, seeking justice, and transforming lives through your gifts to Back Bay Mission!
It’s #GivingTuesday, the annual kick off for end of year giving. Since it began in 2012, #GivingTuesday has become a movement that celebrates and supports giving and philanthropy with events throughout the year and a growing catalog of resources.
So, you’re probably getting a lot of emails and seeing a lot of social media posts asking you to make a gift. You’re probably thinking about who you should support. You’re probably thinking about how you could make a difference today.
And you know the answer: Back Bay Mission.
When you give to Back Bay Mission, you support a community ministry with 95 years of experience serving the poor and marginalized of the Mississippi Gulf Coast. You make sure that people can survive poverty and homelessness through programs like emergency assistance and the Micah Day Center. You help people begin their journeys out of poverty through Bridges Out of Poverty and our community health initiatives. You provide a place of warmth and welcome to people who are neglected far too often.
Thank you for your generosity.
Tuesday, November 28, 2017 is Giving Tuesday! Started in 2012, Giving Tuesday is a great day to support your favorite nonprofit organization. And this year, you have a new tool at your disposal: a Facebook campaign!
Facebook campaigns allow you to raise money for Back Bay Mission through your social network. This is a great opportunity to tell your friends about the Mission and help them begin strengthening neighborhoods, seeking justice, and transforming lives.
And on Giving Tuesday, gift through your fundraiser may be matched! The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is matching up to $2 million in donations ($50,000 per nonprofit organization and $1,000 per campaign) made between 8am EST and midnight HST on Giving Tuesday.
It’s Thanksgiving week… and we just want to say ‘thank you’.
We talk a lot about the work that Back Bay Mission does, from emergency assistance and the Micah Day Center, to housing rehabilitation and Bridges Out of Poverty. We are grateful for the dedicated staff who spend their days serving the poor and marginalized of the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
But the fact is that we couldn’t do any of this without you!
You donate hundreds of thousands of dollars every year to buy food and materials, pay staff salaries, and keep the lights on, among other things.
You give thousands of hours every year to rehabilitate houses, serve in the food pantry, and clean showers in the Micah Day Center.
You open your homes to Mission staff who are in your area, your pulpits to Mission representatives who visit your congregations, and your hearts to the people of the Mississippi Gulf Coast.
Thank you for all that you do to strengthen neighborhoods, seek justice, and transform lives on the Mississippi Gulf Coast!
It’s almost Thanksgiving weekend! For many of us — including Mission staff and volunteers — that means a fantastic meal, time together with family and friends, and maybe even a long weekend. For far too many people, though, it means continuing struggle. The people we serve on the Mississippi Gulf Coast will still be homeless, hungry, and living in poverty. As you gather around the table, please take a moment to remember the people who don’t have a warm home or a hot meal.
Then take a moment to strengthen neighborhoods, seek justice, and transform lives through a gift to Back Bay Mission.
Here are just two ways you can give this Thanksgiving weekend:
Friday (November 24) is Black Friday and Monday (November 27) is Cyber Monday. Both of these days mean great deals online, including Amazon. If you’re making a purchase from Amazon — maybe you’re getting ahead on that Christmas shopping — be sure to go to smile.amazon.com and name Back Bay Mission as your charity of choice. When you purchase one of the tens of millions of eligible products on Amazon Smile, 0.5% of your purchase will come to Back Bay Mission! That may not sound like a lot, but it adds up… and it means that your everyday purchases can strengthen neighborhoods, seek justice, and transform lives!
Tuesday (November 28) is Giving Tuesday. On this sixth annual international day of giving, millions of people from around the world will give to causes they care about. You can give to Back Bay Mission easily and securely on Giving Tuesday— or any other day of the year — right here on our website. Just head to our giving page!
Thanksgiving is a day to give thanks for what we have. And one of the best ways to give thanks is to share what we have with people who don’t have enough. Take some time this Thanksgiving weekend to strengthen neighborhoods, seek justice, and transform lives.
Thank you for your support!
It’s hunger and homelessness awareness week! Over the past few days, we’ve talked about the ways that Back Bay Mission helps people experiencing hunger and homelessness, as well as ways that we help prevent homelessness and provide a rapid response for people who who have fallen into homelessness. Ministries like the food pantry, the Micah Day Center, housing rehabilitation, and rapid rehousing make sure that people have the help they need to avoid — or to survive — tremendously difficult times.
But there’s one more critical layer to the work we do to strengthen neighborhoods, seek justice, and transform lives: helping people — including people who are hungry or homeless — begin their journeys out of poverty.
One program that helps people begin their journey out of homelessness is Home At Last. This ministry provides chronically homeless and disabled individuals and families with permanent supportive housing. That can be a confusing term, so lets take it in reverse order.
Permanent supportive housing is a housing program. It gets people off the street and into an affordable apartment (one that costs no more than 30% of their income). This housing first approach makes it easier to work on other issues that the family is facing. After all, it’s far easier to work on things like employment and health care when a family is in safe, decent, affordable housing.
Permanent supportive housing is supportive. While residents are staying in the apartment we provide, Mission staff work closely with them to help them meet personal and financial goals. These goals include things like applying for benefits, finding a job, and connecting with other service providers, all with the ultimate goal of helping that family find housing on their own.
Finally, permanent supportive housing is not permanent. The word ‘permanent’ differentiates this program from other, temporary, housing programs. Many temporary housing programs provide housing for a few months. And while that may be useful in some cases, in others it simply isn’t enough time to help a family achieve housing independence. Home At Last allows the family to stay as long as they’re following program rules and making progress. We won’t kick them out before they’re ready. And, once they’re ready, we help them make that transition to independence.
Home At Last focuses on helping people escape homelessness and become self-sufficient in regards to housing. Our Bridges Out of Poverty program works with people experiencing other kinds of poverty. This program leads participants through a 16-week class where they learn about poverty and develop plans and strategies to improve their economic circumstances. After the class, participants receive two years of mentoring from a community member who can guide them through rough patches. Or hope for all of our Bridges Out of Poverty participants is that they break the cycle of poverty in their own lives and return to help the next cohort do the same.
Ministries like Home At Last and Bridges Out of Poverty make sure that people aren’t left on their own or forced to rely on emergency assistance. They give people the opportunity and the resources to make their lives better and work towards self-sufficiency. They strengthen neighborhoods, seek justice, and transform lives.
And programs like Bridges Out of Poverty need your help!
This year, Back Bay Mission is raising money specifically for client sustainability programs like Bridges Out of Poverty, our community health initiatives, and our veterans support fund. You can learn more about this campaign, these vital programs, and how you can help on our campaign page!
It’s hunger and homelessness awareness week. This week we’ve looked at two of our emergency assistance programs: the food pantry (which helps people experiencing hunger) and the Micah Day Center (which helps people experiencing homelessness). Both of these ministries provide vital support for people struggling through difficult times. But it’s also important to help people avoid hunger and homelessness in the first place, and to help people escape quickly once they begin experiencing hunger and homelessness.
Back Bay Mission has a variety of ministries designed to help people experiencing poverty avoid falling into hunger, homelessness, and other desperate circumstances. Our housing rehabilitation program is one such ministry. This program helps homeowners stay in their homes by providing necessary repairs and renovations. By helping people keep their homes affordable, maintainable, and sustainable, we ensure that those homeowners don’t fall into homelessness (and lose what is often their only major asset).
We also have ministries aimed at responding quickly to homelessness. Our rapid rehousing program helps people who are recently homeless find housing. This rapid response means that people don’t have to spend any more time than absolutely necessary living on the street (or staying with friend and relatives). Secure housing is necessary for an economically stable life, and rapid rehousing helps people have that vital resource.
While helping people who are hungry, homeless, or in another dire situation is an important part of our ministry, it’s often more effective to help people avoid those circumstances in the first place. And when people do fall into those kinds of situations, a rapid response keeps people from losing even more. These vital ministries are yet another way that Back Bay Mission strengthens neighborhoods, seeks justice, and transforms lives.
It’s hunger and homelessness awareness week, and today we’re going to talk about homelessness and the Micah Day Center.
Homelessness is a surprisingly large problem in the United States. On any given night, almost 550,000 Americans are homeless. Some are sleeping on the streets, in the woods, or even in parking garages. Others are in shelters. Still others are couch surfing. If we were using the definitions provided by the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe, we’d say that some of these people are ‘primarily homeless’ (they live on the streets) and others are ‘secondarily homeless’ (they don’t have a usual place of residence). Homelessness has many different faces. And, of course, it’s not the same 550,000 people every night of the year; many, many more people experience homelessness at some point during the year.
According to the Department of Housing and Urban Development’s 2016 Annual Homeless Assessment Report, that includes more than 2,500 people in Mississippi (we weren’t able to find county-by-county data).
Back Bay Mission serves homeless people in our area through a variety of ministries. People experiencing homelessness use our food pantry, garden in God’s Green Acre, take art classes, and participate in other programs. We are here for our homeless guests in many ways.
Out best-known ministry for people experiencing homelessness is the Micah Day Center. The Micah Center provides a one-stop shop where guests (and we make sure to think of people as guests, not clients) can access several services. People can take showers, have laundry done, use phones and computers, receive mail, and meet with the case workers. We also invite other agencies in to work with guests, including people who work on housing and job placement. The vital ministry works with guests where they’re at, making sure that they have what they need to survive homelessness and ready to serve people who are ready to move forward.
Giving some statistics for the food pantry yesterday was easy. After all, everyone who comes to the food pantry receives the same basic service (food) and can only come every so often (once every thirty days). The Micah Day Center, though, offers many services and people can come every day that it’s open. And homelessness is a ‘wicked’ problem, one visit isn’t going to solve it.
Here’s what we found when we looked through the data. Out of the hundreds of people who visited the Micah Day Center in 2015 and 2016, about half used no more than five services. That might be five different services on one day, the same service five times on five different days, or anything in between. Over 80% used no more than 19 services.
It’s hard to tell quite what that means. Maybe people are using the Micah Center for a while and then moving on to other providers. Maybe people are transiently homeless and find housing after a short time. We don’t know. But we do know that relatively few people are using the program over the long term. And, during the time that they’re coming to the Micah Center, we’re helping them meet basic needs and connect with the services they need. The Micah Day Center, like the food pantry, is a vital helping hand for people experiencing homelessness.