the Beacon has been in operating since October 16, since it’s coming up on its 2-month anniversary. We received an update from Jackson Fonder, ED of Catholic Charities about how things are going. A few statistics tell part of the story:
- Average attendance per day: 215
Average children per day: 20
- Total showers: 809
- Total loads of laundry: 617
- total lunches: 3,330
Behind those statistics are others. On one Saturday, 37 children were present. The racial makeup of guests reflects the deep racial inequities in our city: 42% white/caucasian; 51% African-American (For Madison overall, the percentage of whites is 75.7; 7.4% of the population is African American: Statistics from here: https://statisticalatlas.com/place/Wisconsin/Madison/Race-and-Ethnicity)
There are struggles because of the sheer numbers of guests they’ve been seeing, and especially the number of families with children. We also heard about safety and security concerns. In the next weeks, they will try to schedule meetings with neighbors and with neighborhood groups as we heard from some nearby businesses about issues that have arisen with the presence of this new facility and the guests its serves in the neighborhood.
Channel 3 aired a story on The Beacon yesterday: https://www.channel3000.com/news/the-beacon-is-helping-more-people-than-expected-needs-volunteers-and-donations/672238585
While the piece suggests that in-kind donations are welcome, the priority is now on the need for cash donations to meet this year’s and next year’s budget. It’s likely that they will have to pay for additional security presence for the foreseeable future.
To find out more about the Beacon, visit their webpage or Facebook