Hungry to Help | Angie’s Story

Angie’s heart goes out to the families who visit Phoenix Rescue Mission’s Hope for Hunger Food Bank. It’s because she’s been there, and knows the fear that comes from being unable to feed your kids.

“I was a single mom of three, working two jobs to make ends meet. But then some medical issues cropped up and I couldn’t drive for a while. We ate a lot of mac and cheese and ramen but, eventually, I had to admit that I couldn’t keep it up. I had to go to the food bank. It took a lot to ask for help.”

Today, she gives back by volunteering her time to keep hungry families fed. But as the pandemic grinds on, Angie’s noticed the number of families pulling into the parking lot is on the rise. It’s not just her imagination. Due to the coronavirus, the number of children identified as ‘food insecure’ in Maricopa County is projected to increase another 9.4 percent by the end of the year.*

That’s 49,541 more families in trouble. That’s 99,083 more kids who won’t be getting enough to eat. Together, we can put food on the table. Hunger Action Month is here and it’s time to get to work.

Years later, I can still remember the fear I had walking into the food bank. I felt like a failure. But the people there were non-judgmental. They smiled at me, asking what I needed, telling me to take this and that. It was a huge relief.

"I see that same fear on the faces of parents here. It’s cool to be one of those people now who can put them at ease. To see that fear turn to relief is amazing.

Monday through Friday, every week, you can find Angie in the food bank parking lot, ushering in cars full of families who need help. Back in October, she was serving once or twice a week. But when Covid-19 hit and many of our volunteers decided to stay home, Angie stepped up to fill the gap – even though doing so made her uncomfortable.

“I started to get nervous, not so much about getting the virus, but because I didn’t want my kids and my grandkids to be scared to be around me. So I prayed about it, trusted God, and the next time I came in they had a new procedure, where we started loading food directly into the cars instead of having people come into the warehouse. That’s happened three different times. Each time I got nervous about something, there was a policy change to keep everyone safe. They’re [PRM staff] so good and careful. They look out for us.

But even with the faithful service of people like Angie, there’s still plenty of need for volunteers.

“We always need volunteers,” says Danny Dahm, our Food Bank Coordinator. “Many of our consistent, elderly volunteers have had to remain at home for their own safety. Young people have stepped up to help out in their place during the pandemic. It’s been very encouraging to see, but we’re ramping up for our big turkey drive and we’ll need as much help as we can get.”

Thanksgiving is right around the corner and this year, there will be more families in need than ever before.

“We’ll have bins set up at Wal-Marts throughout Peoria and Glendale, but people can also drop off turkeys here as well. Of course, canned and dry goods, non-perishables, are always needed as well,” says Danny. (See the enclosed Hunger Action Month insert for a full list of needed items.)

Right now, Angie sees around 175 cars a day, many representing more than one family. Thanks to God’s mercy and your support, supply is, so far, keeping pace with demand. But as the weeks stretch on and more and more jobs are lost to quarantine, the number of families who need help getting to the other side of this pandemic is on the rise.

“We tell people, ‘The earlier, the better!’” says Angie. “We give out lots of food, but near the end of the day we start seeing the carts come out with less and less food. It’s whatever God provides.”

Every day, it’s your prayers and support, putting food on the table for hungry families across the valley. Thank you for keeping thousands of men, women and children safe during these uncertain times.

“God protected me and the kids back then and it’s amazing to be in the season now where I can give back.”

*https://www.feedingamericaaction.org/the-impact-of-coronavirus-on-food-insecurity/

“I was looking to serve and a lot of places were setting up food drives, but this place was already handing out food! Plus, it was easy to register and quick to get started. I was eager to get going and put my time to good use!”

– Joe, Food Bank volunteer

Help Stock the Pantry!

We're running low on food - our neighbors need your help!

It’s 110 degrees outside. Turkey dinner with all the trimmings is probably the furthest thing from your mind right now. But the holidays are right around the corner – a time when so many hungry souls find their way to the Mission and our Hope for Hunger Food Bank, first for food, then for transformation.

The bad news is: our pantry is almost empty!

This summer has stretched our resources close to the breaking point. That’s bad news for the men, women, and children we serve. We need your help today to replenish and restock our pantry in time for the Thanksgiving rush!

It’s not just the homeless who benefit. Your gift this month will mean a world of difference for hard-working families on the edge like John’s:

“No matter how much my family plans financially, things happen unexpectedly,” says John. “Places like this help us out a lot.”

We can’t possibly turn our hungry neighbors away – not during the holidays, not ever. Together we can provide nutritious food and slip an arm around every famished soul that walks through our doors this coming season.

Thank you for your support as we gear up to give the chance to chow down and choose new life to as many hungry and hurting families as we can.

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.

 

What is Love?

What is love? A difficult question for most people, let alone men and women who have experienced a a fair amount of trauma and abuse. Yet, these men and women are learning what love looks and feels like when God is a part of their lives. Some are early in their journey. Some are deep in their truth of what the Bible says about love. February, and every day, we celebrate God's love for us and how we can walk that out in our own lives by loving like Jesus loves.

"Love is an action. God IS love. God sending his only son to die for us .. is love. Something as simple as a smile can represent love."

Michelle - Graduate of Phoenix Rescue Mission

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Tom - Graduate of Phoenix Rescue Mission

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"I didn’t know what love felt like. All I knew was hatred, shame and guilt. I didn’t realize until I came to the Phoenix Rescue Mission and actually received Jesus Christ, my personal Savior, and turned my life over to God, what love feels like. And now its like a feeling in my heart all the time. It’s amazing. I care about myself again, I care about everyone around me. The way the Mission and the staff adopted me as family. That feeling you get, it’s crazy. I don’t have problems anymore. It’s a good feeling."

"Love is selfless, and takes a lot of sacrificing of your own desires."

Tiffany - Graduate of Phoenix Rescue Mission

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Stephen - graduate of Phoenix Rescue Mission

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"This is a good week to talk about love. When I think of love, I think of 1 Corinthians 13. What is love, what is the picture of God's love for us? Love is patient , love is kind. Love keeps no record of wrongs. It does not boast, it is not envious. And looking at 1 John also, perfect Love casts out fear, if we don’t know God, we don’t know love."

"Past experience with love hasn’t been the greatest, but a lot of that is because I didn’t have a relationship with God. Now that I do, it’s kind of re-learning everything through His eyes, His perspective. That’s where I’m at right now. I’m still learning a lot."

"Love means home. With my kids, it’s home, family, my babies. That’s love to me. Here at the Changing Lives Center, my kids aren't here with me. So I often go to our daycare on campus, and spend time with the kids. I feel an abundance of love there. It’s unconditional. This is my home right now, I feel safe and I feel love from Christ. Love from God is overpowering, just all-consuming, joy, smiling, happiness. It puts me at peace. My relationship with God now is the strongest it’s ever been. I feel God’s Spirit, that’s love."

Michelle - Client at Changing Lives Center

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Brandon - Graduate of Phoenix Rescue Mission

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"Love is an unconditional acceptance and a yearning to be with someone or something. Love has no bounds, there are no stipulations as to how I can give it to someone or something."

"This is what I have sought for in love. When I think of love, I think of my mom. She showed me the most love, forgiveness, encouragement and just enjoying the company of others. That’s where I learned what love is. Enjoying and wanting to invest all of yourself regardless of cost."

"Love is to be fully known, yet accepted. Unconditionally."

Sala - Graduate of Phoenix Rescue Mission

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Are you a healthy giver?

Are you a healthy giver?

How you can make a REAL difference this Christmas

During the giving season, more than any other time of the year, we all want to help our fellow brothers and sisters. But are you a healthy giver?

That’s a question we all need to ask before we hand our next $5 bill to someone on the street.

Jerome Parker, of the Healthy Giving Council (of which Phoenix Rescue Mission is a part) is doing his best to get the word out ahead of the crowds this holiday season. “We urge people to not give money or food on the street,” says Jerome. “It’s much more helpful to direct them to an  organization that already provides meals, clothing, and recovery programs set up to close the gap between those who are homeless and permanent housing.”

It may seem counter-intuitive, but feeding someone on the streets does more harm than good. It often leads to discarded trash in our neighborhoods (53 tons of it was collected off the streets between Thanksgiving and Christmas last year) and enables the homeless to avoid help for one more day. It even changes the way we think about the people we are hoping to help. “Street giving and feeding puts us in a frame of mind,” he says, “where we begin to see the homeless as less human. If we’re honest, we know that burger or dollar bill we hand out isn’t going to change  anything.

We do it to make ourselves feel better. We need to ask: Is what we are doing bringing this person closer to, or further away from, ending their homelessness?”

Here are a few easy ways to be a healthy giver!

  1. Hand out the enclosed Rescue Referral cards instead of food or cash when you see someone in need. Including a $4 bus pass is even better (bus passes can be purchased at most gas stations and grocery stores).
  2.  Help provide food, clothing, spiritual guidance, addiction recovery, counseling, education assistance, job training, and so much more by supporting the efforts of the Phoenix Rescue Mission.
  3. Become a volunteer by visiting prm.volunteerhub.com and give your time and energy by serving with us on the front lines.

 

Together, we can make a real difference in the lives of the men and women we see on our streets this holiday season!

Download your own rescue referral cards to print at home by clicking the image below.