Turlock Gospel Mission executive director Tim Guerino refers to this time of year as “the dry season” and it has nothing to do with the lack of rain.
Summer is the time of year when TGM sees a marked decline in donations, which sends them into financial peril for most of the summer.
“I call it the dry season, because when summertime comes around the donations really go down,” Guerino said. “But the need is still there and sometimes even goes up. Just like the cold and rain, the extreme heat can push people in.”
TGM operates the Homeless Assistance Ministry and is constructing a year-round shelter on Broadway, though construction has been temporarily put on pause as plans are re-submitted.
“We are getting all the 'I’s' dotted and 'T’s' crossed and then we can go at it full force,” Guerino said.
Even with the construction slow down, Guerino said TGM will be leaving the East Avenue site that currently serves as the day center by the end of November.
“We’ll be at the new site, even if it is in a tent,” Guerino said.
The cost of the year-round shelter has been funded with donations from the Hope Lives Here campaign, but those donations cannot be used for the day to day operations of the H.A.M. Center.
TGM needs around $50,000 to $60,000 to operate through the summer months and last month found itself sending out urgent appeals to cover wages.
Though the donations may be down, the work being done by TGM is going full-steam. The ministry’s partnership with the Turlock Downtown Property Owners Association to clean areas around and in the downtown corridor has been growing with new ministry volunteers joining in the effort. TGM also is looking to partner with the City of Turlock to have some of the individuals using the services of the ministry participate in work programs with the city’s parks department, primarily cleaning up Turlock’s parks.
“Our whole mission is to empower people,” Guerino said. “This community has been very generous and good to us in helping us accomplish that mission. I have faith God is going to get us through this dry spell.”