Imagine for a second that you’re standing on the pitcher’s mound during a game at Chase Field. It’s the fifth inning, the crowd is cheering, and you take a moment to look around at the almost 360 degrees of faces surrounding you in the bleachers. Do you have a good picture of all those men, women and children filling the stands? If you could count each one of their faces, you would find that it is probably somewhere near 25,992, or the average attendance for a Diamondbacks game. It seems like a huge number of people, but sadly, the crowd you are imagining right now is still a couple thousand short of the number who found themselves homeless last year in Arizona.
On the surface, 27,877* seems like an insurmountable problem. The scriptures quite plainly command us to look after the needs of the poor. But how does anyone begin to serve the needs of tens of thousands of individuals? Actually, the answer is quite simple.
Here at the Phoenix Rescue Mission, hope always begins with a meal.
We call it Feeding Phoenix and it’s our initiative to connect with those in need around us through the simple medium of food.
You see, hunger is one of our most basic needs. We are built in such a way that until that need is met, it’s very difficult to concentrate on anything else. That’s why so many of our transformation stories begin the way they do:
“I would have missed the opportunity for a second chance if it weren’t for that first meal at the Mission….” – Richard, Recovery Program Graduate
“If I had never come looking for a meal, I’d still be stuck. Now I have friends and brothers in Christ…” – Alfredo, Recovery Program Graduate
“After the meal I found what I really needed – a chance to start over…” – John, Mission Resident
From the 2,500 food boxes we distribute to the working poor and elderly every month, to the 1,216 sack lunches distributed by the Hope Coach every week, to the 948 hot meals we serve every day, each touch provides a gateway to a new relationship with Jesus Christ and the first step on the path to a transformed life.
Doug, who has volunteered on the food line for more than five years, constantly recognizes the effect a simple meal has on the people he serves. He tells us, “I see changes almost every week in the people that come through my line… the transformation they go through is amazing!”
With the holiday season fast approaching, we will soon have more opportunities than any other time of the year to touch lives. We need your help to make sure none of these precious opportunities are missed!
Volunteer with us to Feed Phoenix. Breakfast servers are needed immediately and other opportunities to help change lives are added weekly.
Signing up is as easy as visiting phoenixrescuemission.org/act and filling out a volunteer application
Of course, you can also help by giving a financial gift and provide the ingredients that produce hope in so many here at the Mission. A complete meal at the Phoenix Rescue Mission costs just $1.92. Your support between now and Thanksgiving will help provide 78,000 community meals in our dining room alone!
Thank you so much for the volunteer hours and the financial partnership that continues to give countless men, women and children a chance at a new future – through the gift of a simple meal. May God bless you richly!
*“Homelessness In Arizona Annual Report.” DES Reports – Arizona Department of Economic Security – Homelessness In Arizona Annual Report. Department of Economic Security, 31 Dec. 2013. Web. 12 Sept. 2014. https://www.azdes.gov/InternetFiles/ Reports/pdf/des_annual_homeless_report_2013.pdf.
Homelessness is a complicated issue. Many of the stories we share highlight a lifecontrolling addiction as the cause of homelessness. But that is only part of the equation. In fact, over 42 percent of those who experience homelessness for the first time in Arizona do so because of job loss, foreclosure or eviction.
Just 10 short months ago, Steven had a steady job as a security guard and a nice apartment. He enjoyed spending his free time with his two dogs in a local park not far from his home. At the time, David never imagined that dog park would soon become his permanent residence.
Steven explains, “They cut my hours at work in November. It wasn’t ideal but I could still pay rent. Then came another even more drastic cut in January. I tried my best to find another position somewhere but I ran out of time. Before I knew it I had lost everything.”
Taking his two dogs he left his apartment complex and set up his new home at the only place he knew he could afford; the local dog park.
Steven remembers, “People who visited the park were nice to me, some would bring me food, one couple even brought me some blankets. But the real difference came when I learned about the Phoenix Rescue Mission.”
After 5 days of living without shelter, a city sanitation worker noticed Steven and gave him the number to the Mission. Before long, Cliff Danley and the Hope Coach arrived to pick him up and help put him back on his feet.
Steven tells us, “This place has been a Godsend. When they started the new Job Readiness program I was one of the first to sign up. Right away I was given access to a computer and instruction on how to redo my resume. I had more interviews in the week following that first class than I had in the six months I had been applying on my own!”
Today, thanks to the support of friends like you, Steven has a new position at a security company and is saving money for the deposit on a new apartment. He’s also looking forward to reuniting with his dogs that were being fostered by friends he met at the park.
Every year, behind the scenes, there are thousands of men, women and children just like Steven whose lives are brought back from the brink here at the Mission. Sometimes it’s something as simple as a food box, sometimes it’s something more involved, but no matter what it is, your partnership is what makes the difference in that person’s life. Thank you so much for continuing to bless the lives of those we serve every day.
During the holiday season, Phoenix Rescue Mission delivers 500 holiday food boxes to families who would otherwise go without. You can help give a family hope this Thanksgiving. Simply fill a box with non-perishable items to make a Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings!
It’s Easy to Participate!
- Determine the number of families you or your group wish to feed. (One food box feeds a family of four.)
- Use your own medium-sized box.
- Fill each box with the menu items listed below (no glass jars, please):
Instant Potatoes | Cranberry Sauce
Stuffing Mix | Corn Bread Mix
Gravy | Cake Mix
Canned Fruit | Canned Pie Filling
Canned Yams | Canned Goods to Fill Box
- Purchase a $15 grocery store gift card to be used by Phoenix Rescue Mission to purchase a frozen turkey. DO NOT PUT GIFT CARD IN BOX. Hand to PRM staff upon delivery.
- Be creative! Add seasonal paper plates, napkins, favors or decorations (no candles, please). Homemade items are especially welcome!
- Close the box by overlapping the flaps. Please do not tape shut.
- Return filled box between Monday, November 17th and Friday, November 21st to PRM Donation Warehouse, 1468 N. 26th Ave., Phoenix 85009. Warehouse is open Mon.-Fri., 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Mission can pick up large donations of 50 boxes or more.
For more information on the Fill-A-Box project or hosting a canned food drive, contact the Volunteer Hotline at 602-346-3363, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Feeding Phoenix is the heart of what we do here at the Mission. I wholeheartedly believe that if for some reason our meal services went missing, it wouldn’t take long for the rest of our ministry to follow suit. The promise of hot meals are a huge draw to many homeless who would not otherwise seek out our services. The food boxes we give out to families and deliver to elderly shut-ins is a band-aid that lets us address more serious wounds. Meal services get our community involved and exposed to the issue of homelessness firsthand. But most of all, food is important because of the life-change that it makes possible.
We know that people we serve have needs beyond just a meal. That’s why we created “Feeding Phoenix, More Than Just a Meal” to shed light on our other services. Like we explained in the cover story, a hungry person won’t hear the message of salvation. Deal with that rumbling in their stomachs, and they will.
Thank you so much for the support that continues to nourish bodies and souls here at the Mission every day. Together, by God’s grace, we are changing lives and eternal destinations one meal at a time.