A New Way to Food Bank

A New Way to Food Bank

We cannot wait for families to come to us. We must go to them.

By Nathan Smith, Chief Program Officer

The pandemic has shown us just how important it is to be flexible. It’s changed how we work, how we order food, and even how we get our groceries. Our Hope for Hunger Food Bank adapted as well, reformatting to serve drive-up lines and provide contactless forms.

But it’s not enough.

In my work at Phoenix Rescue Mission, I’ve seen the impact that barriers like a lack of transportation or the inability to afford healthy foods have on disadvantaged communities. I’ve seen children set up for lifelong battles with chronic health issues because their bodies are starving. The experience has made one truth abundantly clear: we can’t continue to wait for families to come to us.

We need to go to them.

It’s a truth I confirmed through a year-long research fellowship with Arizona State University’s Knowledge Exchange for Resilience.

After nine months of collecting data from nearly 10,000 individuals served at both our Hope for Hunger Food Bank and our current mobile food pantries, we found that minority and immigrant families are nearly 200% more likely to go to a mobile food pantry versus a brick-and-mortar pantry.

The results were clear: traditional food banks will always be essential, but to significantly reduce food insecurity, we needed to invest more in mobile outreach.

To that end, we’ve already begun bringing new mobile food pantries to underserved regions of the Valley known as “food deserts.” Every week, we’re serving up hope in new areas that lack fresh food, produce and other essentials.

It’s exciting! But this new outreach is dependent on financial support as well as donations of non-perishable food and hygiene items. In other words – hope like this doesn’t happen without friends like you!

Serving these areas will do more than fight hunger – it will open up opportunities to connect families to services aimed at ending poverty, like vocational development, job placement, emotional or mental health services, and addiction recovery services.

Our neighbors need our help. Let’s break down the barriers that prevent people from seeking help!

More Than A Teacher

For 10 years, Pat Walker has helped homeless and hurting women from all sorts of backgrounds get back on their feet and into fulfilling careers as a part of the Atlanta Rescue Mission. Today she’s bringing her wealth of  experience to the men and women we serve in our vocational development program. “I teach people how to stay focused and to have faith to push through the challenges ahead of them.

 

When they have excuses, I don’t let them get away with it,” says Pat with a smile and a chuckle. “I continue to push them, stand firm with them, but also love on them as well.” Her goal is to see every man and woman who come to work at our three social enterprises, Mission Possible Café, Mission Possible Catering, and Mission Possible Cookies, find the skills and confidence they need to succeed in the real world. “My job is to re-instill a work ethic. You’ve got to show up. You’ve got to be professional. You’ve got to interact with the customers – this is a real job.

Sometimes their self-esteem is low, and they don’t think they can do it. We stick by them, show them they have the capabilities and give them the encouragement to push for it.” Pat supplies the moxie that gets our men and women moving toward success, but it’s your support that makes the whole process possible.

 

Thank you for the prayers and financial partnership that gives so many hope for real transformation and a path to self-sufficiency. “I’m here to show them that, no matter what happens in life, Christ is able to get you back on your feet.” That’s a lesson we would all do well to  remember. Thank you, Pat, and welcome to the Phoenix Rescue Mission team!

 

 

Mission Possible Cafe Celebrate One Year Anniversary


We just celebrated Action Hunger Month, which precedes the first anniversary of the grand opening of Mission Possible Cafe, a social enterprise owned and operated by the Phoenix Rescue Mission - a non-profit dedicated to ending hunger and homelessness.

It's a special time for all of us at the cafe because of what the restaurant has done to change the lives of all our employees, each of whom have struggled with homelessness, addiction or trauma.

For me, Mission Possible Cafe has made life possible again.

I would have never thought when I took my first painkiller that I would ever end up homeless. I never would have thought a decade of my life could be lost to drugs. The worst part about taking that first pill was the effect it would have on my two children.

You see, it's difficult enough living out of a car, not knowing where you'd end up or how you're going to survive the day. But pales in comparison to knowing what it's like to watch your kids sift through the trunk of the car, desperately looking for clean clothes for school. It pains me to this day that they know when to tuen their heads while I put a needle in my ar,.

I nearly lost everything to my addiction. My house. My belongings, My kids. I was in and out go haul several times. It almost took my life. Thankful, by the grace of God, my probation officer took me to the Phoenix Rescue Mission's Changing Lives Center for women and children August of 2015.

As part of my treatment, I helped the Mission open and run Mission Possible Cafe, a Mexican-American restaurant in the downtown Phoenix area that serves breakfast and rich. Besides offering delicious, original recipes, the goal of the cafe is to change the lives of the men and women in trcovery at the phoenix Rescue Mission.

The cafe provides, real-world culinary-,amazement experience tot this in trvobery and also provides funding for the Mission vocation training program, which is part of a long-term recoevery program among to end the cycle of homelessness and addiction.

 

I am now 34 years old. I am a graduatee of the Phoenix Rescue Mission's long-term recovery program, and I just celebrated my third year of sobriety. For many who've had a history like mine, getting clean is half the battle. THere's still an entire world our there that wasn't made for people who have court records instead of diplomas. But because of Mission Possible Cafe, I completed my recovery treatment with real-world, on-th-job experience while earning a high school diploma through the services available at the Mission.

When I graduated the Mission's program, I landed an assistant manager position at a doughnut and coffee chain, I have a stable home for me and my children and I was asked to come back and manage the front of the house for Mission Possible Cafe.

So, this year means a lot to me and my Mission Possible team. For our one year anniversary, we invited the community and our neighbors to come have lunch on us! A special thanks to Nathan's Hotdogs, who provided 200 hotdogs to share to hungry guests who came through our doors. We enjoyed cake together and Mission Possibbe Cookies baked fresh by women going through the progaram at the Changing Lives Center for women and children.

It is only through your support that the Cafe is able to function as a place for our community to break bread together, and support men and women working towards new life at the Phoenix Rescue Mission.When you eat at the cafe, know that 100% of proceeds at Mission Possible Cafe go directly to those in need. The very men and women that take your order, make your coffee, and prepare your food, you are liftin up and saying, "we care."

Thank you, Phoenix, for supporting those of us who just needed someone to show them that anything is possible.

 

-Seanna Perry

Mission Possible Cafe - front of house manager

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hungry for Change

We’ve all been hungry. But few of us have experienced real hunger – the gnawing, painful, desperate need for something, anything to put in our stomach. It comes when our kitchen is bare, when we don’t know when our next meal will be. The crippling ache inside drowns out anything other than finding a meal. Not many of us know true hunger. But you know who does? Our kids.

In Arizona, 1 in 3 children are experiencing this kind of painful, debilitating hunger. And that has to change.

While it’s true that hunger knows no age, race, or gender, it is fundamentally tied to poverty — and poverty is rampant in Arizona. In fact, Phoenix ranks as having the 3rd highest
poverty rate among the 25 largest metro areas in the U.S. When 30% of your neighbors are working poor, it’s no wonder that a third of our children are going hungry.

We can change that – by removing the need for families to choose between bills and food – and giving them a chance to get back on their feet. The good news is – you are already a part of that change.

Through your support of Phoenix Rescue Mission, you are making a difference – not only in the lives of hungry children, but their families and their communities as a whole. One way you are joining the fight is through Phoenix Rescue Mission’s Hope for Hunger Food Bank in Glendale. It’s an outreach dedicated to addressing both hunger and poverty.

Every day 130 families travel from surrounding areas to find emergency food and more, ready and waiting at Hope for Hunger.

Another way you help is through our Community Market, held every 2nd and 4th Saturday of the month, where we provide families with access to free clothing, shoes, water, and food bags – all designed to give working poor families a hand up. If you, or anyone you know needs help with any of the above needs, email pmolina@phoenixrescuemission.org.

It’s been one year since opening the Mission Possible Café, where your support provides men and women with real-world experience in food preparation, service and management – building resumés and providing a path to well-paying careers in the restaurant industry that puts food on the table.

But as great as all these things are, none of them are possible without the prayers, volunteer hours and financial support of friends like you. While it’s true that hunger is a huge issue that won’t be solved overnight, allowing a third of our children to go hungry in Arizona isn’t acceptable. The Phoenix Rescue Mission is committed to providing Christ-centered, life-transforming solutions to persons facing hunger and homelessness. Together, we can change that sad statistic in so many powerful ways. “Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink?... And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’” - Matthew 25:37 & 40 Thank you for the partnership that continues to reach out to the hungry, not only with food, but with hope, help, and a path to true transformation.

 

 

Hunger Action Month

“Missing a meal” is not the latest diet craze, but the definition of “food Insecurity.” Right here in Arizona one in 7 families are considered food insecure like Andrea, who needed her car to get to her job.

“This month my car broke and the only way to pay for it was to take the money from my food budget. I would skip dinner to make sure my kids had something at night,” said Andrea. “Knowing there was a week until my next paycheck was when I found the food bank and was provided a cart full of groceries.”

“I was so thankful to find so many people who care. It meant a lot to my family.”

You can help neighbors like Andrea put nutritious food on her table this month.

Here are some ideas for YOU to take action this month!

September is Hunger Action Month. Here are a few ways YOU can take action, and make an impact in your community!

Hold a Canned Food Drive

Hold a canned food drive at your church, office or in your neighborhood. Contact Catie to arrange your drive, and find out our greatest needs at chammann@phoenixrescuemission.org or 602-346-3347

#ShareYourPlate

Use the #ShareYourPlate hashtag on social media to let your friends and family know how you are helping food insecure families this month. Don't forget to check Phoenix Rescue Mission on Facebook and @phxmission on Twitter and Instagram to see our video highlights of those you are helping.

Feed a Family

Feed a family in our care. Hope begins with a meal, just a $1.92 provides a nutritious meal in our dining hall. Click HERE to donate.

Volunteer at Hope for Hunger Food Bank

Volunteer to pack food boxes at Hope for Hunger Food Bank. Sign up as a volunteer on VolunteerHub or click HERE to see the available shifts.

Become a Fill-A-Bag Partner

Join the Mission and help us support low-income families in our neighborhoods with bags of groceries and basic goods. To learn more about the Fill-A-Bag Program, click HERE.

Buy Cookies

You heard right. Buy  cookies. Support the Mission's Cookie Enterprise Vocational Program, where all proceeds go back into the program to support the very women baking up delicious cookies, made from scratch, just for you! Learn more at giftcookies.com

Volunteer Serving in our Kitchen

Serve at our Community Market

Every 2nd and 4th Saturday of every month, the Mission serves our low-income families. We open our campus and provide food bags, a chance to "shop" for clothes, shoes and basic household items, provide counseling and prayer, and plenty of water to get them by. See what happens at our market below.

Thank you for taking action to end hunger in our community!