Thank You for Making a Second Chance Possible

Pat Youngquist | Interim Executive Director



Thank you to everyone who helped make Raising Hope such a successful event in April. Your generosity provided of $100,000 of support to Union Mission.

When we talk about Raising Hope, we are talking about something that is at the core of what we do. We provide hope for those who are feeling hopeless. Homelessness and hopeless can be synonymous. Hope is something that can be hard to find on the streets. Mental illness, domestic abuse, family tragedy, job loss, and the struggles of addiction can sap hope from even the strongest hearts.

Your investment in Union Mission means we can provide hope in tangible ways. In 2016, your gifts helped to provide 28,103 nights of shelter to 474 men, women, and children. It helped provide 84,309 meals. And it helped 326 people find jobs – 94% of those jobs were above minimum wage.

By providing these services to people in need, we are providing hope and a message that our community cares. Your support of Union Mission translates into job placement, workforce development training through our Culinary Arts Program, and community-based mental health care for those with nowhere else to turn. Your help is work to address the underlying causes of homelessness in our community.

Thank you for sharing help and hope with those most in need through your support of Union Mission.

Union Mission Offers New Workforce Development Resource


New Resource for Workforce Development at Union Mission

Danielle Jordan

Finding a job can be difficult when you’re homeless. Just gaining access to the most basic resources, such as email, can be an almost insurmountable barrier. Union Mission is working to help tear down those barriers by opening a new computer lab for use by homeless men and women seeking employment.

Regular computer access is crucial to employment success in our highly connected world. Not only are most applications submitted online, but individuals must also have regular access to email accounts to ensure responses are made in a timely manner.

“Employers no longer want paper applications,” said Union Mission Employment Coordinator, Crystal Thomas, “Everything is digitized, and we teach them how to do that.”

Union Mission clients working in the new computer lab

Photograph by Maggie Lynn

The new lab, complete with five computers and a printer, was funded through a generous grant from Wells Fargo. Clients will be able to build resumes, submit job applications, and create email accounts. Additional, the students of Union Mission’s Culinary Arts Program will be able to use the computers to take their ServSafe certification tests.  It’s multi-purpose space that employees and clients alike are excited to see arrive.

Volunteers will be a crucial part of the new computer lab’s success, helping clients to develop their resumes and apply for jobs. This volunteer support makes all the difference to those searching for jobs. Beyond assisting with resumes, volunteers provide encouragement to those still developing their employment skills.

“It makes them less discouraged when they walk out of these doors,” Thomas said.

In today’s dynamic job market, computer skills are crucial. With more volunteer support, Union Mission hopes to be able to expand the computer lab’s hours and provide classes to those in need of basic computer competency skills.

“It’s like the proverb—teach a man to fish and he’ll eat for a lifetime. We want to give you a skillset,” Thomas said.


Union Mission Resume Development Volunteer and clients at work in the new computer lab.

Photograph by Maggie Lynn

The addition of the computer lab is already making a difference. From finding employment to building greater computer literacy, the tools this new lab provides to homeless men and women will create both short and long-term change in their lives. Thanks to those who give generously to Union Mission, the new computer lab will benefit our community for years to come.

World AIDS Day: Celebrating Success


World AIDS Day: Celebrating Success!

Danielle Jordan, Emergency Services Intake Coordinator

30 November 2016

Each year, community organizations around the globe set aside December 1st to celebrate World AIDS Day. This year, Union Mission will take part in the festivities while adding its own spin.

First established in 1988, World AIDS Day began as a way for people around the world to unite in the fight against HIV/AIDS. The idea was to use the day to gather support for those living with the disease and honor those who had been lost. Union Mission will use this year’s event not just to commemorate those who have died, but also to celebrate how far we’ve come in the battle. Union Mission’s Phoenix Project works year-round to provide housing and social services to those living with the disease, and the passion of its staff members drives the effort. There are currently over 1,400 people living with HIV in Chatham, Bryan, and Effingham counties. While programs like Phoenix Project continue to work tirelessly to prevent the disease through education, they have good reason to take a day to focus on progress. Because of medical advances, an HIV/AIDS diagnosis no longer suggests the dire fate it once did.

Celebrate World AIDS Day!

William Solomon works as an HIV Health Educator at Phoenix Project and he views World AIDS Day as a day to celebrate. Although he takes the challenges of an HIV diagnosis seriously and recognizes the hardships it can often bring, he wants everyone to know that Union Mission’s World AIDS Day event will be a celebration of life and the advances made in HIV healthcare.

“In 2016, anyone diagnosed with HIV/AIDS has a chance not just to live, but to be alive. That’s the difference in the past and the present. We have more tools in our fight.” – William Solomon, HIV Health Educator, Phoenix Project

This year’s event will take place on December 1st at Savannah Gardens, located at 515 Pennsylvania Avenue, and will last from 2:00 PM to 6:00 PM. The event is free and open to the public. Families are welcome and encourages to attend. Local vendors and social service organizations will be available to provide information. There will be free food and music.

Please join us for a celebration of how far we’ve come in the fight against AIDS!

Donor Spotlight: Meredith Stone


The Gift of Help: Meredith’s Birthday Donation

Maggie Lynn, Community Outreach Coordinator

01 August 2016

Balloons, cake, candles…canned goods? Meredith Stone’s birthday wasn’t an ordinary party – instead of celebrating with gifts, she donated her birthday to Union Mission.

“Birthdays are about celebrating the gift of your life. Whenever I’m asked what things I want for my birthday, I never know how to answer because material items come and go,” Meredith said. “but seeing people around me happy and helping each other is the best gift of all. So this year, I figured I’d ask if any and everyone could help me pay it forward.”

Meredith Stone and Union Mission Director of Development, Laura Lane McKinnon

Photograph by Maggie Lynn

She set a goal of 24 days, one for each year of her life, to see how much she could raise. The folks at 13 Bricks, an independent clothing retailer in the Historic District made their shop the donation spot and also helped with marketing Meredith’s birthday gift. She reached out to several organizations and chose Union Mission as her community partner because she wanted to help make real change happen in the lives of those with nowhere else to turn.

My biggest birthday wish is that people will think about making their most special days special for other people too.”

“I wanted to raise $300 and met that goal in just two days!”, Meredith said “By the end of the 24 days, I collected over 1300 items and $1300. It was so cool to see so many people with different backgrounds come together to help others.”

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Photograph by Lorem Ipsum via Unsplash

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Bring Them Home: Helping Homeless Veterans

Bring Them Home:

Helping Homeless Veterans

Union Mission Team

Text: Andy Webb, Maggie Lynn,

Photo credits: Roy Mosby

There are over 200 veterans homeless on any given night in the greater Savannah area, according to estimates from the Chatham-Savannah Authority for the Homeless. The factors contributing to veteran homelessness are similar to those shared by all homeless across America – lack of affordable housing, livable income, and access to health care – but some are unique to veterans. Many veterans who end up homeless find themselves displaced because of the lingering effects of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and/or substance abuse. These impacts are compounded by lack of family or social support, isolating veterans and leaving them few places to turn for help.

“22 veterans commit suicide every day, according to a 2012 study conducted by the Veteran Affairs. Studies have shown that a majority of vets do not receive treatment until 10-15 years after separation from service.”


Veterans continued to be overrepresented in America’s homeless population, making up eight percent of America’s homeless. Veterans are also twice as likely to become chronically homeless, experiencing more than 3 episodes of homelessness over a 365 day period. When veterans do become homeless, they are likely to stay homeless longer than non-veterans, with an average length of six years versus the four years for non-veterans. While the majority of homeless veterans are male and elderly (between the ages of 51 and 65),  the face of veteran homelessness is beginning to change. More and more, homeless veterans are young, female, and heads of household.

While the face of veteran homelessness is changing, the issues they struggle with remain the same. In addition to mental health and substance abuse issues, veterans face other challenges in their struggle to leave homelessness behind. Often the professional skills and training they receive during their time on active duty do not translate well to an all civilian workforce. This, combined with frequent moves that make it challenging to build and grow a professional network outside the military, place service members at a disadvantage when seeking employment at the end of their military career.

Helping homeless veterans means going beyond just housing. To meet their specialized needs, programs that support veterans must provide a comprehensive array of support services to coordinate the mental health care, housing, and employment support which enable them to rebuild their lives. While government funding exists to support such programs, it is extremely limited and community support is crucial to ensure that groups helping homeless veterans are able to continue reaching out to support those who have sacrificed so much. Bringing our service members home for good means providing the resources they need to stay housed and to rejoin our communities with dignity.

Your generous support enables Union Mission to change lives here in Savannah.







What Can I Do?

What Can I Do?


JUNE, 2016

Homelessness seems like a problem too large to fix – the number of individuals and families homeless in the Greater Savannah area seems overwhelming. Time and again, we hear people say “What can just one person do to help?”

There are lots of ways people can help prevent and end homeless in our community – helping a homeless child stay in school and putting them on the path to success is a powerful message of hope and support.

Back to school shopping is just around the corner. Soon it will be time for new shoes, new backpacks, pencils, and notebooks. We hope that as you shop, you’ll think about the more than one thousand homeless children in the greater Savannah area and add an extra backpack or notebook or pack of pencils to your list. Your support can make a difference in the lives of children and make this school year one that can change their life.

Homelessness is hard enough for adults, but for children it can be life changing. Children without a stable home can suffer from anxiety, depression, and other emotional and behavioral trauma that severely impact their development. Homeless children are twice as likely to have learning disabilities and have a higher drop out rate, leaving them without the skills they need to disrupt the cycle of poverty and leave homelessness behind for good.

Your support can help a homeless child start the school year off right.

School can be a haven for homeless children, offering stability and safety. Setting homeless children up for a successful school year can increase their chances of staying in school and helping to ensure a brighter future. The simple but meaningful gesture of school supplies can make a difference in the life of a homeless child.

Please consider lending a helping hand. Donations of new school supplies and new or gently-used school uniforms can be brought to Union Mission at 120 Fahm Street. Donations will be accepted until July 18, 2016 for the 2016-2017 school year.