Summer Is Here – What Can I Do?

4 Helpful Tips from Manette Torres - Homeless Street Outreach Case Manager

Before joining our Street Outreach Team, I spent more than 20 years caught in the chains of addiction. I know first-hand what it’s like on the streets of our city, and how deadly they can be during the summer for those caught unaware.

When God reached out, broke those chains, and turned my life around – I knew the best way to give thanks was to help others find the same freedom and transformation.

But summer is right around the corner and time is short. We’re in a race against time and temperature and we need to work together to reach as many as possible before the streets turn deadly once again.

Manette Torres, Homeless Street Outreach Case Manager

Here are a few tips that can make a real impact and save the life of someone on the street:

1. Be Prepared.

It’s hot and you are going to run into someone in need of help. Be ready! Keep water bottles and a Summer Hope Tote or two in your car this summer ready to give away. Build yours at phxmission.org/hopetote.

2. Talk with them.

Say hello. Show them your heart. Asking if they have a place to stay the night or a plan for the future can be a great way to engage in a quick conversation while at a stop light.

3. Point them to the Mission.

Guide them toward a solution by handing out one of the enclosed Rescue Referral cards or print your own at phxmission.org/referral. Tell them you support the Mission, and it could be a place their needs can be met.

4. Pray.

This is most important – only God can change hearts! Don’t forget to pray for those on the streets and for those battling addiction or dealing with mental health issues. Pray that their physical and emotional needs are met, and their spiritual hunger is satisfied. And please pray for the staff and volunteers at the Mission as we search for those who need help and engage them with solutions.

Last summer, 252 men and women in Maricopa County lost their lives due to heat-related causes. As a community we need to step up and reach out to those who may not know how deadly our summer can be.

Together, we can make a difference by connecting people in harm’s way with the resources that keep them safe and transform lives!

Churches and Businesses:

Want tips for the best ways to help the homeless in your specific community? Check out our video training and other resources at phxmission.org/churches

Meet Ted Guy – Phoenix Rescue Mission’s New Board Chair

A new heart to help lead the Mission

Q: How long have you lived in the Valley?
A: I’m a native, born in Chandler. I’ve lived in various parts of the US, attended NAU for college, and moved to Phoenix after school. That was 1978 and I’ve been here ever since!

Q: What led you to get involved with Phoenix Rescue Mission?
A: As a Christian, I believe we are called to serve others. I started with the Mission as a volunteer on the Hope Coach doing Street Outreach and grew to love the ways the Mission is serving our community.

Q: What is something that excites you about taking the role of Board Chair?
A: I am very excited about developing community within our Board as we seek to serve the greater good of the disenfranchised in Maricopa County. In my opinion, we are blessed with an outstanding Board. I am privileged to serve as Chairman.

Q: How would you like to see Phoenix Rescue Mission grow over the next couple of years?
A: I would like to see the Mission serve more where most needed. We are in the process of developing a strategic plan with this in mind and are in the process of lifting the plan up to the Lord – to charge ahead in care and service.

Q: What message do you have for those in our community reading this newsletter?
A: The Mission is more than staff and clients and homeless “shelters.” We have numerous opportunities where anyone in the community can serve and make a difference. I encourage all our friends to look up volunteer opportunities on the website and learn how they can serve.

Thanks to you, Sylvia is abandoned no more

Left at a park at age 11, Sylvia now has a place of her own for the first time

Sylvia was abandoned by her mom in a public park at 59th avenue and Bethany Home Road when she was just 11 years old.

“I just stayed at the park. I started using drugs and getting in trouble and I’ve been in and out of prison. My world was a little harder than most, but it made me who I am.”

It was when she got out of prison the last time in 2017 that you helped change her world for the better.

“I ran into Rich Heitz [Lead Street Outreach Case Manager] by the Glendale Library. I knew him from when he was on the streets, but now he looked happy. I’d never seen him smile so big!” Sylvia says with a smile to match. “He told me about how he got sober at Phoenix Rescue Mission and that he was working with them now.”

When Sylvia learned about our Glendale Works program, everything started to change.

“I started going regularly, when I was scheduled and even when I wasn’t scheduled, to be a standby in case somebody didn’t show up. I liked doing something positive. Then I started going to their food bank [Hope for Hunger Food Bank] for all their resources. They’re making big changes for the better in Glendale. I’ve been homeless since I was 11 so I’ve seen how much they help, how much has changed.”

Sylvia found she enjoyed doing honest work for honest pay, but she didn’t have any idea where it would lead. Since she became involved with Glendale Works four years ago, big things have happened. She has a new, steady job at the airport, a new puppy companion, Boo, that she loves very much and, recently, you helped her into a new apartment. With the help of our housing case management team, Sylvia now has a place of her own in Glendale for the first time – ever.

Relaxing in her comfortable apartment, Slyvia is no longer alone, thanks to her loyal companion, Boo.

“When they said I could get a housing voucher, I didn’t think it would work, but I put my name in there anyway. Thank God! I came from nothing and I’ve been trying to get it together on my own but it just hasn’t worked. I wouldn’t be here, in this place, without them.”

Thanks to you, Sylvia is abandoned no more.

“It makes all the difference to have somebody there rooting for you, telling you to keep on going. Even when it gets hard. I really do owe Rich, Brian [Housing Case Manager] and Gabe [Street Outreach Supervisor] a great, big thank you!”

How to Respond to the Addiction of a Loved One

By Lisa Crist, PRM Associate Counselor, LMSW, MSW

Loving someone with an addiction is a difficult and painful experience. We desperately want to help our loved one, yet their hostile, abusive and sometimes criminal behavior breaks our hearts and destroys trust. How do we respond in love without enabling our family member to continue in their sickness?

Get Educated.

There are many falsehoods and myths associated with addiction. Most people with substance or alcohol use disorder are not “choosing” to be addicts; they have a diagnosable condition requiring intensive treatment. Arm yourself with as much education as possible in order to respond appropriately to the person you love. Seek out places to discover more about addiction. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) is an excellent place to find resources for help and education: samhsa.gov.

Get Help.

Many Christians resist sharing their stories for fear of judgement by others. Please understand this: It is not your fault your family member is ill. Addiction is a family disease, and the entire family needs help to recover. Simply put, you cannot navigate this issue alone.

Parents and Friends of Addicted Loved Ones (palgroup.org) provide family members hope in hopeless situations. Celebrate Recovery (celebraterecovery.com) provides Christ-based 12-step help to families plagued by addiction; check your home church or search your local area for meetings.

Get Tough.

Many of you have heard it takes “tough love” to help a person with addiction. This is true; however, this kind of love is tough on the person doing the loving rather than on the one being loved. We think we are helping our family member by rescuing them. In fact, we are enabling the addiction to continue every time we intervene to prevent them from falling.

Resist the temptation to “help” your family member with money, housing, or anything else standing between them and getting help. Get out of God’s way and let natural consequences happen.

Love Extravagantly.

This is difficult. People with addiction are not always loveable. They use manipulation as a tool to get you to do what they want. Take the tool out of their hands by not withholding your love from them. See them if it is safe do to so. Give them nothing but your time and attention. Practice saying things like, “I love you so much, and I will not give you any money at any time.”

Above all, pray for God to overwhelm your loved one with His love. They may not acknowledge or appreciate it, but you can have peace knowing that you are loving them in the best way possible.

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!