An urgent letter from the director
Dear Friend and Supporter,
As we write, coronavirus dominates news headlines. It started 500 miles from Shanghai in Wuhan.
We don't know how long it will last, but today, masks are an urgent need. Homeless people can't find or afford them, but they have to wear them, and nobody can go into a shop or buy food without one. Your help can provide one for those in need.
Each mask lasts only a day or two -- and although they're now very scarce, we've found a few reliable suppliers who charge slightly higher prices. To comply with the law banning public gatherings, our drop-in center is closed, meaning homeless people have no place to have a hot meal, shower, change of clothes, or laundry.
I haven't eaten in two days.
Your gift will provide food for people on the streets. Packaged meals and milk cost much more than our communal meals and it takes longer to find the people who need them.
Homeless people are running out of every means of survival. There are no bottles or other recyclables to be found on the empty streets, and day jobs have disappeared. In the past, people would crew for outdoor events, but all of this is currently out of the question, and only a handful of businesses are open.
So the situation is getting serious. When we give someone food or a mask, some people tell us, 'I haven't eaten in two days.' Still, we are incredibly grateful for your response to our recent email. Your kind support gives us hope that we can help people through this terrible time, no matter what happens.
Hanson Ye and Jimmy McWhinney
Coronavirus hits the homeless
The Story So Far
Today, many homeless people have nothing to eat but steamed buns with very little nutrition. Many others have no food.
The streets of Shanghai are empty. There is no recycling to pick up and no day jobs. One person said, 'There is no work, so I don't have money to eat.'
Current Street Action
We are taking your gifts to the streets with parcels of food, milk, and disposable masks. It takes more time and more money. Our typical communal meals are much cheaper, but because the drop in center is closed, they've been banned for now.
The Human Impact
People are suffering, and the dirt from the streets is humiliating. Our drop-in center sadly must remain closed for now, giving people no access to a shower, laundry or a clean change of clothes.
If this crisis continues, we can explore taking fresh clothing onto the streets. At night, there is a chance people might be able to change clothes with dignity.
What You Can Do
There's no telling how long the crisis will last, but you can help with a gift for disposable masks, packaged food, and nutritious drinks like milk for people who are stuck outside. The situation is now serious.
Few people are infected. But the closed businesses and empty streets are hurting the homeless. People who were already on the fringes of society are now pushed to the edge of survival. More and more people are sleeping in parks and in doorways. They really have no other choice.
Renewal's drop-in center will reopen the day we can. Until then, we need help to reach people who are stuck outdoors.
Biggest ever Spring Festival followed by closure
We tested all 150 people who came to the Spring Festival dinner with an infrared thermometer and nobody showed fever or signs of coronavirus infection. Yet, on the very next day, we were forced to close to prevent large gatherings, and everyone outdoors was required to wear a mask.
Coronavirus put an end to gatherings like Spring Festival. We need your help to reach people who are now stuck outdoors.
But your help can make a difference. You gave a hot and hearty meal to our biggest crowd ever, and now we are working to reach many of the same people who are forced to sleep on the street. Your kind support is already housing as many people as we have space for on our residential training program.
If you can, come and see the results of your help. You will be amazed! Even if you can't pay a visit, thank you again for your support toward our biggest and perhaps best ever Spring Festival meal.
Please send a gift today to help those still stuck out in the cold.
How you saved a grateful survivor
You've probably heard that the coronavirus is worse for older people: on 6 March it was reported in the media that for every year above the age of 50 a person is more likely to die from the infection, and men are more vulnerable.
Thankfully, your help has kept Lin Tianye warm and healthy. Born near the end of World War II in Taiwan, he was displaced by the war and moved to mainland China. He later lost his investment in a failed business, and now has no family at all.
Your gifts give people what they need, when they need it.
Try to imagine what it's like to survive on the streets at 76 years old, and you'll have an idea what Lin's life is like. Hanson is constantly in touch with Lin, ensuring that he gets whatever help he needs, as quickly as we can deliver it.
Thank you for helping Lin! Your next gift will reach another vulnerable person crisis.
You are the answer to the coronavirus crisis
If you're asking, 'What can I do?' The answer is to help the Renewal Center respond to the coronavirus. We are close to the crisis and your gift will reach the poorest and most helpless people on the streets, with healthy food, milk, water, and masks that everyone is required to wear.
They are running out of hope. Shanghai's street sleepers urgently need help.
To help the homeless hit by coronavirus