Freezing temperatures and our homeless neighbors

Most people don't associate below-freezing temperatures with Arizona, but the state will be seeing a continuing trend of cold weather over the next few days, according to the National Weather Service.

The homeless population has an increased risk for hypothermia and other cold-related conditions.  This risk is even higher from those who suffer from substance addictions, mental illness, or other physical illnesses.

Homeless service providers and governments have the responsibility to protect their homeless citizens through state- and city-wide winter plans and increased shelter availability. Phoenix Rescue Mission joins these efforts year-round, and has seen an influx of men and women seeking refuse from the cold temperatures.

Cold weather poses a threat to those experiencing homelessness even when temperatures seem mild. Hypothermia can set in when temperatures drop below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

Precautions to Reduce the Risks of Hypothermia*

  • Wear hats, mittens, gloves and clothing that create a static layer of warm air, provides a barrier against the wind, and keeps the body dry.
  • Avoid alcohol and other mood- and cognition-altering drugs.
  • Recognize the signs and symptoms of hypothermia (e.g., shivering, slurred speech, and drowsiness) that indicate the need to seek shelter and call for help.
  • Keep and carry emergency supplies containing blankets, non-caffeinated fluids, high-energy food, and an extra supply of medications for chronic conditions readily available.

*These precautions are important for both homeless people and those who help them.

Seven hundred people experiencing or at risk of homelessness are killed from hypothermia annually in the United States. From the urban streets of our populated cities to the remote back-country of rural America, hypothermia – or subnormal temperature in the body – remains a leading, critical and preventable cause of injury and death among those experiencing homelessness.

Because of support from our community, Phoenix Rescue Mission is able to play a pivotal role providing our homeless and hungry neighbors with support during not only the winter months, but year-round.

The Mission is asking the communities support with the following items:

Any donations can be dropped our at our warehouse at 3440 W. Lewis Ave Monday-Friday 8am-4pm, or at our Transforming Lives Center outside of regular business hours at 1801 S. 35th Avenue.

 

The Main Thing – Home for the Holidays

As we sit down to dinner this Thanksgiving, surrounded by mouth-watering dishes of every kind, let's remember those who will be going without this year. A staggering 30 percent of our neighbors are considered working poor. In a state with a population of 7 million, that means 2.1 million of us are struggling to put food on the table, not to mention the thousands who call our streets home.

Numbers like these seem insurmountable. But, you know what?

Our God is bigger than hunger and homelessness.

Thanksgiving was central to Old Testament worship. Sacrifice and offerings were to be made not grudgingly, but with thanksgiving. The psalmist valued a song of thanksgiving more than sacrifice. Thankfulness was expressed: for personal and national deliverance; for God’s faithfulness to the covenant; and for forgiveness. All creation joins in offering thanks to God.

The first harvest celebration was held in 1621. It was then William Bradford proclaimed a day of thanksgiving and prayer to be shared by all the colonists and the neighboring Indians. It was not until October 3, 1789 that George Washington assigned Thursday, November 26, 1789, to be a day of national thanksgiving.  In his proclamation Washington stated, "...recommend to the people of the United States a day of public thanksgiving and prayer; to be observed by acknowledging, with grateful hearts, the many ... favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness." 

Thanksgiving is a natural element of Christian worship and is to characterize all of Christian life. Early Christians expressed thanks: for Christ’s healing ministry; for Christ’s deliverance of the believer from sin; for God’s indescribable gift of grace in Christ; and for the faith of fellow Christians.

A Thanksgiving Proclamation, spoken by Abraham Lincoln on October 3, 1863 observed that the last Thursday of November would be a day of "Thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens."

He continued, "It has seemed to me fit and proper that God should be solemnly, reverently, and gratefully acknowledged, as with one heart and one voice by the whole American people. I do therefore invite my fellow citizens in every part of the United States, and also those who are at sea and those who are sojourning in foreign lands, to set apart and observe the last Thursday of November as a day of Thanksgiving and praise to our beneficent Father who dwelleth in the heavens."

Psalm 100 A Psalm For Giving Thanks. 1Shout for joy to the LORD all the earth. 2Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs. 3Know that the LORD is God.  It is he who made us, and we are his; we are his people, the sheep of his pasture. 4Enter his gates with thanksgiving and his courts with praise; give thanks to him and praise his name. 5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever; his faithfulness continues through all generations.

This Thanksgiving, because of donors and volunteers, we were able to serve over 1,200 households with a Thanksgiving meal they may have otherwise gone without. It is heartwarming and encouraging to see the impact a community can have when we come together with a common goal.

Through your support of Phoenix Rescue Mission, God transforming lives that in turn impact others. It's a ripple effect that reaches farther and impacts more lives than we can imagine - just like a wind becomes a storm, a flame becomes a wildfire, it's been God's method for change from the very beginning.

So, as we remember those who will go without also remember that you are a part of something big, something that is changing the face of homelessness and hunger in our state.

God bless you and Happy Thanksgiving.

 

 

 

Having to Choosing Between Paying the Bills and Food on the Table

 

Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, your aunt’s famous casserole, the list of options with which to pile on your plate goes on and on at most homes during Thanksgiving. But not so for Sara’s family. Hers was one of hundreds in Phoenix who find Thanksgiving a luxury they can ill afford. When life is hard and you’re forced to choose between keeping the lights on or putting food on the table, the holiday season has a way of making it even harder.

But today, everything has changed for Sara. Her family of five is eating well and even looking forward to a Thanksgiving feast this year. So what made the difference? Hope!

Specifically, Phoenix Rescue Mission’s Hope for Hunger Food Bank.

“A friend told me about it [Hope for Hunger Food Bank],” says Sara. “She saw that we sometimes struggled with the decision to either pay the bills or to buy food. Now once a month we come and receive the food our family needs.” Nearly 30 percent of our Arizona neighbors are considered working poor. These are hard-working men and women who struggle to stretch dollars that barely cover housing expenses. Many times, for families like Sara’s, those dollars don’t quite stretch far enough to put food on the table. Arizona ranks as the 5th worst state when it comes to food security.

But through your support of the Phoenix Rescue Mission – you are making a difference.

“I’m so grateful and thankful to God and to the Mission. What they do is amazing.

They are helping a lot of families like ours. Here, we get good stuff, vegetables, fruit, rice, beans – all the stuff you really need.

 

It’s like when you go to the supermarket, you need eggs, you need cheese, you need vegetables. The way they work things here is amazing.” For many families living paycheck to paycheck, all it takes is one emergency situation – a car breaking down, an unexpected medical bill – to put a family over the edge and onto the street.

The goal of Phoenix Rescue Mission’s Hope for Hunger Food Bank is not only to provide nourishing food to individuals and families who struggle to afford it, but also to temporarily remove the burden of a food bill from the household budget. This allows families to begin to save, to provide themselves with a safety net when the next unexpected bill comes around the corner and, perhaps most importantly, a path out of the cycle of poverty.

Sara, who has been coming to Hope for Hunger for two years is not only close to that goal, she’s begun to give back and provide for others.

 

 

A Smile Can Change A Life

How God is using our partnership to restore the years the locusts have eaten

When we see people missing teeth, we “label” them. We somehow tend to think of them as unintelligent ... unprofessional ... even untrustworthy. No, it doesn’t really make sense, logically. But it happens nonetheless.

It’s a challenge faced by many of our graduates. Even though they are new creations in Christ, their bodies still bear the scars of the past – ruining job opportunities and potential relationships – essentially keeping them from moving forward.

Enter our dental partners that give our graduates a reason to smile. Phoenix Rescue Mission is blessed to have Smiles Beyond the Bars, Pacific Dental Services Foundation, Brighter Way, Custom Fit Lab and Smiles for Everyone provide bright smiles for our clients.

“We help formerly incarcerated people who have come to love the Lord, and are in a faith-based organization,” says Linda of Smiles Beyond the Bars. “If they qualify, we will totally rebuild their mouth, giving them a new shot at life, a new confidence, and a chance to live like anyone else and not hide their teeth.”

It makes all the difference for our graduates. Just ask Tyler. “For years I’ve hid my smile,” says Tyler, “unable to enjoy even the smallest moments of joy and laughter. I could feel the assumptions and judgments from those who would see my teeth. Smiles Beyond the Bars not only gave me back my confidence and ability to enjoy life, eating is no longer  painful! It’s been a huge blessing. I am so thankful for Phoenix Rescue Mission and Smiles Beyond the Bars!”

“The Phoenix Rescue Mission brings them in, gives them a bed and teaches them life skills, but if they still have bad teeth, they can’t get a job,” says Linda. “The missing factor is their smile.”

Lisa, CEO and founder of Smiles Beyond the Bars, approached Tyler about a special opportunity during the process of receiving his new smile. Smiles Beyond the Bars was hosting their 2018 Smiles for Success Gala, and wanted Tyler to be the emcee! Tyler was more than excited to raise awareness for the cause that gave him his new smile, and praise God for what He had brought Tyler through. "I want to do this every year," Tyler explained.  Tyler's testimony and experience was shown on the big screen as he told his story of hope and transformation, not only for his teeth, but his soul/ It was a beautiful night celebrating World Smiles Day among supporters and recipients of new smiles.  They year, Smiles Beyond the Bars will provide 75 new smiles to recipients, from a dedicated core of 65 dentists and 13 labs contributing their services equating to $2 million of treatment and lab services!

God’s grace, your support and the dedicated support of our counselors and staff give our graduates the tools for transformation from the inside-out. Our dental partners provide our graduates with dazzling new smiles to match their inner change – the combination is nothing short of 1 Peter 5:10: “And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”

 

 

Spinato’s Pizza Serves Community for Hunger Action Month

For women, once broken, homeless and addicted, now sit at a upscale pizzeria on 7th Street and Camelback Road in Phoenix. As a Spinato's staff member came by to check on the women, and mothers with their children enjoying their meals, Christina a mother of two going through the program at the Phoenix Rescue Mission is holding back tears. "They opened up their doors to us, they sat down and spoke with us, we prayed together." "I will be talking about tonight for a long time."

Spinato's Pizzeria in Phoenix has a community based mindset, and giving back to their community is part of their Mission. "We have such a big family, our staff is family, our restaurant is a place where we can bring in people and make them feel at home as well," family of owner, Nicole explains.

Spinato's closed their restaurant down to serve the 100 women and their children currently residing and transforming their lives at the Phoenix Rescue Mission Changing Lives Center for women and children. "We told our staff, 'take your time, sit down and get to know these men and their stories.'" "They are who we are serving tonight.

"Going out to eat with children is difficult, Christina explains. They [Spinato's] welcomed it, and even gave our children goodie bags to take home on top of this amazing night out. To sit down at a beautiful restaurant and be catered to was so special."

Spinato's gave each woman, as well as their children the opportunity to order "anything and everything," from their specialty pizzas, pastas, calzones and even dessert! Tables were full of delicious food, smiles, and full bellies were seen throughout the restaurant. "This is the best pizza I've ever had, 5-star!"

September is Hunger Action Month, and Spinato's has stepped up in a big way. Thank you to the staff, family, and friends that made this incredible night possible. "It was heaven, a night I won't forget." Christina and the other 100 women and children invited to a closed restaurant just for them, finished dinner, and were given goodie bags to take home.  The women and children from the Phoenix Rescue Mission left Spinato's with a renewed spirit, full bellies, and full hearts. "Tonight reminded me people care," Christina said as she walked out with left over pizza, a goodie bag, and a smile that will impact others for days to come.