UCAN Mission Has Come A?Long Way
Whatever the weather, the United Christian Advocacy Network mission says that more help is needed to ensure its future efforts.
“During especially the warmer months we kind of go off the radar. And the reality is despite the warm weather, we are running,” “just as full as we are in the winter,” said Executive Director Scott Linden. In addition Linden emphasized they “are just cranking away still, by running full it’s a necessary and needed mission and ministry. And we need the continual support monetarily.”
After opening in April of 2017, numerous functions have become a mainstay. UCAN now offers breakfast and dinner.
“Most of our meals are either provided by St. Susan’s or volunteers with little bit of food prep and cooking availability,” said Program Director Jeff Rotunda. He added that “mornings are mostly cereals, toast, bagels, unless we have volunteers come in like this morning that provided sausage, eggs, bacon.”
In addition, Chapel services have been added and are held from 6-7 p.m. on Sundays.
“It used to be a regular part of the mission before we came and it is once again,” said Rotunda. Services include different regional pastors and speakers every week. A Proverbs devotional is also available weekday mornings from 9-10 a.m.
Various community rooms have been completed. With their new availability UCAN now offers services ranging from career building, community help and healing events. Despite their continual use, UCAN says many improvements need to be made on the former Union Gospel Mission building.
Among the recent changes are a programming room where Rotunda noted UCAN and their “other groups meet.” Rotunda said the facility will make use of a series of Healing Journey Evenings on Tuesdays. Basic facilities and living spaces have been completed on the second floor. This includes dorm rooms, showers, laundry and one Veterans room. The current capacity is 18 with a short term goal of 20-22. A third floor is being completed and would bring the total capacity to 40. As well as “a second room for Veterans.”
A full apartment is also included, which UCAN hopes to use for transitional housing or a resident adviser’s office.
In addition, a rec room has been added.
“We’ve had to do some construction a lot of work still yet to be done on the building but even now there is still opportunity, its a classic old building but it serves its purpose,” Rotunda said.
In spite of the accomplishments, more work needs to be done. One major goal is the realization by the community.
“Looking back when we opened the first guys coming in were about 250 men later served realizing the need is there,” Linden said.
As the only mission in Chautauqua County, UCAN was giving numerous crisis releif, spiritual services and a supportive environment year-round. Working with St. Susan’s, Chautauqua Opportunities, and United Way and others Rotunda says the “network to help indviduals seeing the need firsthand and to make it aware that for the public and the community is important to see; there’s people out here that can be helped, and you can be a part of that in many ways.” Rotunda also praised seeing individuals and organizations make a difference.
“The number of men in here in and of itself shows that need,” Linden said. He added that the mission is open every day and needed constantly. Monetary donations are needed for maintenance and other necessities. “The primary understanding is that in the summertime or winter men can find themselves homeless or displaced and in need of our services, and thats were the community comes in to help out.”
He added that the major obstacle holding back efforts is taking basic needs for granted. Yet Linden also added that “so many are so thankful” for the services provided at UCAN.
Looking forward, the mission is eager to help each and every individual in their care. UCAN is interested in opportunities ranging from transitional housing, employment, community connections and support systems. Building maintenance is also highly needed. However, the most important element, according to Rotunda, is ensuring resources are available for budgeting, relationships and improving life from a biblical prospective are available.
UCAN graciously asks again for donations for the upcoming winter season, where winter clothing is especially needed.
To donate or learn more about UCAN mission services, contact Scott Linden or Jeff Rotunda at 488-7480 or visit ucancitymission.org