Guest Column: Gratitude


Gratitude by Tracy Russell.

“I just wanted to say a very special “thank you” to all the men, women, and families that have donated their money, time, food, clothing and other items to Union Gospel Mission.

So, you know God truly watches over this place. His Spirit is so powerful here.

I found out today that I lost my grandmother. She went to see Jesus two days ago, and the love and support I have received from staff and my sisters here is really incredible. I feel all the women here are my sisters (in Christ) and love them all. I see the Holy Spirit in so many women.

When a lot of women first come in, they are scared and unsure, sad, confused and don’t want to be here. What a transformation a few days can make in a woman’s life when she has women gathered around her as sisters. The women here get really close, and when one leaves, there are always tears of sadness and joy. Our different reasons for being here always seem to help one another. We are all so broken when we arrive. God changes that to hope and encouragement and a new look on life.”

Tracy wrote this note while living at the UGM Crisis Shelter for Women and Children. She transferred from the Crisis Shelter to the Women’s Recovery program at Anna Ogden Hall, finishing the program last June. Today, she has a good job and her own place, but she continues to value the strong relationships she formed while at UGM.


From its inception in 1951, Union Gospel Mission’s purpose has been to break – not perpetuate – the cycle of homelessness. Believing each individual is created in the image of God, we see in each one the potential to live a meaningful life, something much better than mere survival on the street.

UGM Women’s Recovery at Anna Ogden Hall is a long-term program for people dealing with overwhelming personal issues such as addiction, domestic violence or a criminal record. Recognizing that permanent change takes place at the heart level, UGM Recovery addresses the underlying thoughts, feelings and beliefs that drive destructive behaviors.

Anna Ogden Hall gives women and their children a safe place to find healing for their brokenness. The program equips residents with the tools, training, and direction they need to live life a whole new way.

UGM served 2,368 women and children at its three shelters and summer camp in 2017, providing 57,651 nights of shelters and 142,373 meals.