Chicken Caesar wraps. Quinoa salad. Fresh baked bread. On their own they make for a healthy, tasty lunch. But combined with the power of the Phoenix Rescue Mission they are a part of something so much more.
They’re vital ingredients in transforming lives.
It’s called Mission Possible Catering and it’s the next step in changing lives and building new futures here at the Phoenix Rescue Mission.
The goal is to give the women and men who have earned their ServeSafe certifications in the kitchen through our vocational development program the opportunity to exercise what they’ve learned in a professional environment – serving real customers, handling all the problems of a real business while earning valuable on-the-job experience at the same time.
At its head is Michelle. You may remember her from our November newsletter – a young woman who had learned valuable culinary and management skills through our vocational training course at the Changing Lives Center. When we last visited with her she had graduated our recovery program, finished her certifications and was on track to earning back the custody of her son that addiction stripped from her life.
Today she has full custody of her son; she has applied for and has been accepted into Ministry Training, our most rigorous and demanding leadership training program, and is spearheading the creation of our new Mission Possible Catering social enterprise program.
Monday through Friday, Michelle and her staff are working hard to perfect each item on their menu, tirelessly practicing their technique, their bake time, tweaking the recipes and making sure everything turns out as delicious as they’ve planned. But even before their catering service opens for business, the recipes they’ve poured their hearts and souls into are already making a difference.
Brandi, one of our women in recovery currently working under Michelle, tells us, “I love what I do here. I’m learning new things every day. I feel like God was calling me to the Changing Lives Center for a long time. Now that I’m here, He’s blessing me in ways I never imagined – emotionally, spiritually and now with new skills and abilities.”
Michele, not to be confused with Michelle with two l’s, was addicted and contemplating suicide before her Aunt suggested finding help at the Changing Lives Center. It’s a decision that saved her life.
Michele explains, “I had this attitude and this demeanor about me that was so self-destructive. This place has changed me. I’m not angry, I’m not bitter anymore. I look at myself now and I just shake my head. I don’t know who that person was. At Mission Possible Catering I get to be a part of something exciting. I see all the wonderful dishes and I can say ‘I made this.’ It makes me feel important… something I’ve never really felt before.”
With your partnership, we’re taking simple things like chicken and tofu and using them to transform lives.
“The beautiful thing about this program is that you not only gain the skills restaurant employers are looking for, you have the opportunity to put those skills to the test and build our resumes at the same time,” says Michelle.
“Where else do you get the chance to do all this? For women who were lost and broken and whose self-worth was non-existent – it’s something we can be proud of. I love this place. The Mission is opening the doors for so many women in so many different ways.”
But it’s only through the prayers and support of friends like you that these life-changing programs are possible – a fact that is not lost on the women we serve.
“It amazes me how much the donors care – they genuinely care.” says Michele, “And that’s what most of us never had was someone who cared. The fact that people who don’t even know us care that much about us… it’s amazing!”
We’ll have Mission Possible Catering up and running soon! For more information, give us a call at 602-688-6220!
The women we serve can’t wait to serve you!
Twenty years old and homeless. Addicted to a $100 a day habit. Mixed up with the Mexican cartel. There are a number of reasons Austin shouldn’t be alive today. But instead of cutting his life short, God instead used an unlikely messenger to save it.
Austin had been living without a home for about a year and a half. His daily routine consisted of waking up, finding some way to make money, buying heroin, getting high and going back to sleep. But it wasn’t because he enjoyed the feeling. He was trapped.
“When you withdraw from heroin, you wake up freezing cold, you’re sweating, you’re throwing up, it feels like your bones are breaking and that you pulled all your muscles.” Austin explains, “A day without it and that’s where I was. After two years, my habit wasn’t about getting high for fun any more, I needed it just to survive.”
Traveling from drop house to drop house, Austin’s life was a blur. Then one night he got caught without a place to sleep and found a dugout to hole up in. At three in the morning a group of thugs happened upon him and beat him severely. Fortunately he managed to get away – but not before they broke his jaw and his cheek bone in three places.
But even a scrape with death wasn’t enough to motivate Austin to get help. Then something miraculous happened.
Austin explains, “I got into debt with my dealer. I owed her $30 and she confiscated my ID and my social security card as collateral until I could pay her. I convinced my mom that I owed a friend some money and she agreed to help me out so I could get my cards back. But when my mom handed her the money, instead of taking it, my dealer handed it back, told her all about my drug problem and that I needed help. She gave my cards to my mom and that was that. My mom had heard about the Phoenix Rescue Mission from a family friend. So the next day I checked in.”
Today, Austin is a graduate of our recovery program. He is sober, and thanks to our vocational development program he has a steady job at Subway with the goal of working to become a phlebotomist.
“Even though I grew up in a Christian home, it was here at the Mission where I experienced God for the first time,” admits Austin. “When that happened, I completely lost my desire to get high.”
Instead of traveling down a dead end road, Austin has a bright future ahead of him – and it’s because of the friendship and support of friends like you. Thank you!