You may have noticed it here on the blog, on Facebook, on UGM buildings and publications. It’s the first word in our purpose statement.
Partnering, partnership, partner. As a noun, a verb, an adjective – it’s everywhere. We use “partners” to refer to financial supporters, volunteers, people who give their stuff to the Thrift Stores, employers who provide Business Practicums, shoppers who fill our food drive barrels… etc., etc.
You may wonder why we use that word so much. What do we mean by it?
We mean nothing that happens at the Union Gospel Mission happens without you – someone who doesn’t get paid to be here – being a vital part of it.
You provided the pasta, the salad dressing or the coffee for today’s meal.
You volunteered to give a smile, pillows and blankets to a mom with two kids when they checked in at the Crisis Shelter.
You donated the funds to keep the lights and heaters on for the men in the day room to stay out of the bitter cold this winter.
You gave those perfectly good dresses, dishes, chairs, and electronics to the UGM Thrift Stores so someone could get work experience and a paycheck, perhaps for the first time ever.
You paid the salary of a full-time, qualified counselor helping clients dig through decades of chaotic history to heal the real brokenness underneath their addictions.
You welcomed someone who didn’t have any other family into your church family.
You. Not “UGM,” you.
That’s why we call you “partners.” Without you, the work would not get done. Nobody would get a hot meal, nobody would have a safe place to sleep, nobody would experience a truly loving community, nobody would hear the good news of Jesus Christ at UGM.
UGM wouldn’t even be here.
Our partners are as diverse as our community, with one important common trait: They’re generous people giving what they have to help others.
Everyone who gives any amount of money to the Union Gospel Mission is a partner in the ministry. We’ve been blown away by the sacrificial generosity of donors who give both large and relatively small gifts. They all make a difference, and we take our stewardship responsibility very seriously.
Impact Partners: People who commit to monthly giving provide the financial stability that allows us to operate four shelters 24/7/365.
We’re blessed to have not only financial partnership from local businesses but business leaders who give our residents job training and job opportunities. Work is a huge component of recovery at UGM – and of life as a contributing member of society – and UGM Business Partners offer the chance our residents need to get meaningful work. They also share their experience and wisdom through our work seminar and career fair to help people get back to work.
Grocery stores, food service distributors, restaurants, and farmers are among those who regularly provide for needs at UGM through gifts in kind. It is a huge blessing to receive healthy, fresh foods on a regular basis from partners who share the fruits of their hard work to feed the hungry.
It isn’t just food – UGM receives new and gently used computers, clothing, furniture and a hundred other kinds of gifts from individuals and other organizations – not to mention those who give cars, motorcycles and boats to UGM Motors. Each gift makes a difference, whether it fills a need within the ministry or provides program funding through sale at Motors and the Thrift Stores.
From the very beginning, the Union Gospel Mission has represented a collaborative effort among believers and churches concerned for the poor and homeless. That’s actually what “Union” means.
Churches provide chapel services, volunteer groups, and financial support for UGM ministries.
Churches recruit campers and lead summer camp activities for at-risk youth at UGM Camp.
Churches help spread the word in our community about what God’s doing at UGM.
Stay tuned – next week we’ll share how one church partner has blessed the people we serve in a number of different ways!
If you're intrigued by any of these partnership opportunities, you can learn more in our free ebook, "21 Ways to Help the Homeless." Download it here.