Keystone Mission’s leadership and staff are aware of the current situation regarding the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and have implemented precautions to educate and assist our guests off to reduce their risk of infection.

Keystone Mission is a member of a national organization of rescue missions called City Gate Network (Citygatenetwork.org). From the first notice of the virus in the states, the Mission has been receiving information about the disease, how to reduce risks of infection, and how to manage guests or staff who may be infected. Guests are asked to report symptoms to a staff member to receive immediate medical evaluation. The leadership is monitoring federal, state, and local authorities for information related to the virus.

Response Action Plans are in place for large-scale emergencies such as flood, fire, severe weather, and the current outbreak of COVID-19. The Mission maintains the necessary food and supplies to carry the organization through these possible events. The plan also includes aide for the community during the current national emergency. Starting immediately, Keystone Mission injunction with the Weinberg Food Bank (CEO) will provide Emergency Food Assistance to any families in the Northeast PA. Those who are eligible to receive aide have directly impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak (loss of a job, not able to work, or low-income). The Emergency Food Bags can be retrieved from both the Scranton and Wilkes-Barre location, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m.–4:00 p.m. Keystone mission will also continue to provide our normal food distributions. Clothing distribution will be put on hold for the foreseeable future. If you have a need for clothing, please contact our Distribution Manager, Brenda to arrange a time and pick up. Our Message and a Meal program, which is Friday through Monday, will continue as scheduled.

Keystone Mission remains in contact with local government agencies, sharing information and discussing different scenarios, and will cooperate with those agencies as necessary. Keystone Mission believes in Prayer and Being Prepared.

PRAYER —We believe that our God is mighty… He hears and answers the prayers of His people. It is the cornerstone of any successful mission. Please join us in praying for the health and safety of every team member, leader, staff member, and those in need. Ask your prayer partners to join you now in prayer and encourage them to pray from the promises in God’s Word. So then faith [comes] by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God. – Rom 10:17 NKJV

BEING PREPARED —Start now to learn good habits for hand washing, make sure hand sanitizer is added to your packing list, avoid touching your face or mouth, (it’s harder than you think, so start practicing now. Keystone Mission will provide those in need and ensuring the safety of all guests, volunteers, staff, and the public.

All of us will continue to pray for God’s blessing over our community and His wisdom as we respond to this situation. We also pray for those infected and the families of those deceased from the virus. The Mission is a 501(c)(3) faith-based, non-profit and does not receive any federal or state funding.

As you are aware, the local areas and the entire country is preparing for an outbreak of the Coronavirus (COVID-19).

As always, the safety of our Staff, Guests’, Volunteers’, and Donors’ are the top priority of Keystone Mission. To that end, with the growing number of cases being reported, Keystone Mission leadership continues to monitor the situation closely.

The Mission is actively following the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), state and local health departments, and the World Health Organization (WHO), so we can quickly respond to any shifts in their recommendations.

Local public health authorities recommend that individuals consider to not attend public gatherings with more than 5,000 participants; particularly older adults and those who have chronic health conditions. Current guidance does not include closures or cancellations of functions such as scheduled program events at Keystone Mission.

Therefore, the Mission will continue regularly scheduled programs and activities as normal. Keystone Mission wants to abide by the decisions of the surrounding officials and because of that, following the guidance of universities, The Gathering will be cancelled. Keystone Mission will ensure that we plan The Gathering for a future date.

With all the concern of the Coronavirus, Keystone Mission CEO, Justin Behrens, would like the public to understand that the Mission is taking extra precautions; while continuing to provide services, at this time, for those in need. The steps will include extra care in wiping down handles and extra cleaning around the mission. Along with that, the Mission continues to educate the guests’ on proper hygiene and how to take care of themselves.

“Keystone Mission wants to ensure that the Mission staff is dedicated and committed to helping meet the needs of our community every single day, not just during this time. The Mission staff members generally face a very real possibility of getting sick in this line of work, but that doesn’t stop us from continually serving our neighbors, who are experiencing homelessness.”  

Keystone Mission leadership and staff will continue to pray for those in need, those affected by the virus, and all the concerns on everyone’s heart.  

Let us take heart the passage in Isaiah 41:10 “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”

The same simple steps that prevent the spread of ordinary flu viruses work against coronavirus and other illnesses:

  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Cough into a tissue or your elbow (not your hand). Then throw the tissue away and wash your hands.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Stay home when you are sick, with temperature above 100º F (38º C), do not feel well, or appear weak or ill.
  • Consult your health care provider if you have special health conditions that put you at increased risk.

For more details on how to protect yourself, visit the CDC website.