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.

A Message from Jay – The Main Thing

One of my favorite sayings is, "the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing." Here at the Phoenix Rescue Mission it certainly applies to our Mission Statement to provide Christ-centered, life-transforming solutions to persons facing hunger and homelessness. We do so by providing a full continuum of both residential and non-residential programs that engage persons in need, providing immediate assistance to help resolve their life-controlling problems, and empower them towards self-sustainability.

In recent years, we have developed new, innovative programs that are more efficient, effective, and life-transformation (the main thing). We have developed better solutions for persons who are motivated for change so that they can quickly be connected to the appropriate solutions to their problems.

Nearly a year ago, we developed a program called RAP, which stands for Rescue, Assess, and Place. RAP has become the first step for admission into our residential recovery program. RAP is not a traditional emergency shelter. RAP is a 7-day structured program for persons facing homelessness, addiction, or other life-controlling problems.

RAP is designed to get motivated, and qualified men and women facing life-controlling issues connected to the right solutions. Though most clients are admitted due to addiction-related issues, our first two admission at the Changing Lives Center (women and children’s campus) were domestic violence victims with their children seeking safety and refuge.

Participants of RAP receive:

Love, support, and guidance

An introduction to Christianity

Comprehensive assessment

Full health Evaluation

Education on possible solutions

Development of a personal solutions plan

Case management assistance

Participation in classes, groups, and other program activities

Placement in an appropriate solution that matches their needs and plan

 

Phoenix Rescue Mission is a rescue mission. That is our main thing. Rescue is getting a person in crisis to a safe and appropriate place. Much like bringing a drowning person to shore, RAP provides that living, safe, and supportive environment. While in RAP, clients are educated in basic life skills, and solutions pathways to break destructive cycles. Additionally, they get a chance to experience portions of our Foundations Program so they can see what residential recovery at the Phoenix Rescue Mission would be like. For most, this is the first time they’ve ever honestly faced their situations, and had help developing a plan.

RAP has proven its success. Last year, we rescued 900 men and women, many accompanied by children. Of those 900 individuals, 685 or 76% completed the program, and were assisted with placement into appropriate internal or external care. From the streets of Phoenix, coming out of jail or prison with nowhere to turn, or from unhealthy situations, RAP was a place of refuge, safety, and comfort to those coming from these traumatic circumstances.

At Phoenix Rescue Mission, we deliver our programs in a socially responsible manner so as to not adversely affect the surrounding community.

All of the services provided in RAP are provided at NO COST to the client or taxpayer thanks to the incredible support of our faithful donors and supporters.

This has also resulted in substantial cost savings to society due to a reduction in:

Homelessness

Domestic Violence

Child removal into state custody

Incarceration

Crime

Emergency room and healthcare costs

Government support

Over-burdened homeless services system

The Phoenix Rescue Mission is a Rescue Mission. That is our main thing, and we will continue to provide outreach to engage all homeless and hurting individuals in our city. Jesus came to save ALL his children, and we believe He has great plans for our city, and His church. It is only through your support, and God's grace and mercy that we continue to grow, and advance the way we serve the least, the lost, and the last. RAP is just the beginning, Jesus is the end.

Jay A. Cory
President and CEO

If you, or anyone you know is sick and tired of being sick and tired, give the numbers below a call to see if the Phoenix Rescue Mission's RAP Program is the right place for you.

Rescue – Assess – Place (RAP) Program:

STEPS TO RAP:

Motivated men and women, or referral sources must call to set an intake screening appointment. Exceptions are made for first responders and our street outreach team who may bring someone in to our facilities.

Men’s Program  - (602) 346-3390

Women’s Program – (602) 688-6219

Monday-Friday 9am-7pm

Clients must be legally and mentally able to function in a residential program environment and not pose a threat to other clients or to the community.

 

Opens a New Window.

 

Click the above Rescue Referral Card so you can be ready when you see someone on the streets of Phoenix who needs help. Print the cards, and keep them in your car. When you see someone suffering, hand them this card to offer hope, support, and most importantly SOLUTIONS to homelessness.

Arizona Summit Law School Provides Free Legal Services to Help End Homelessness

Located between the Downtown Core and Capitol Mall, the 13-acre Human Services Campus is a collaboration between many different partner organizations, all working to end homelessness in the community. (Photo: Fara Illich)

 

Tucked inside a bare-bones computer lab on the Human Services Campus in Downtown Phoenix, a group of Arizona Summit Law School students and a professor host a free legal clinic every Tuesday.

It’s a relaxed environment, everyone is dressed down. One student with a laptop anchors one of several small round tables, while a queue forms in the lobby/respite area of the Lodestar Day Resource Center (LDRC).

For more than two hours, there’s a steady stream of people. Every case is different but everyone who walks through the door gets the same three things: eye contact, a warm smile and respect.

“We constantly have to think on the fly — you sit down with clients, they tell you their issue, and you have to start brainstorming immediately,” said Kamal Lahlou, a 33-year-old senior law student.

For the students, they’re receiving invaluable hands-on legal experience, but for those experiencing homelessness — it’s perhaps their only chance to get out.

Many individuals face a complex entanglement of legal woes, sometimes associated with the act of being homeless like loitering or camping. Other times, it’s the reason they lost their home in the first place — a felony conviction, prison stint, domestic abuse, civil or misdemeanor fines.

SOMETIMES A FEW HUNDRED DOLLARS IN COURT FINES CAN ROADBLOCK EMPLOYMENT, RE-HOUSING


From left, professor Susan Daicoff along with students Kamal Lahlou and Michael Jones get ready for the last Human Services Campus legal clinic of the spring 2018 semester. (Photo: Fara Illich)

Maricopa County Regional Homeless Court is also located on the Human Services Campus — just down the hall, in fact. It can resolve minor misdemeanors, victimless offenses, and warrants for those who demonstrate a commitment to end their homelessness.

Referrals to homeless court, clearing up records and settling fines represents a large portion of what the Summit legal clinic does. But it runs the gamut from name changes, divorces, landlord-tenant issues, probate, elder abuse and many, many others.

Under the rules of the Arizona Supreme Court, the students can actually practice law in a clinic setting as active members of the state bar, as long as they’re supervised by a licensed attorney, law professor or with other licensed attorneys.

According to the school’s records, the clinic handled 848 legal matters on the Human Services Campus over a four-year period, with one professor and about 3-5 students per semester.

More than 65 percent of graduating seniors take advantage of one of the legal clinics offered by Summit, according to professor Susan Daicoff, who leads the program and oversees the Human Services Campus clinic.

“When clients say, ‘I don’t want to see anybody else, I only want to see you guys’ —  that’s a great feeling,” she said. “I want people to walk away feeling like we treated them well, that we treated them with respect, that we empowered them to handle their own legal matters, came alongside them, and pulled them out when they were stuck.”

SERVING THE UNDERSERVED IS ONE OF THE MISSION PILLARS OF ARIZONA SUMMIT LAW SCHOOL


Michael Jones chose Arizona Summit Law School for the legal clinic experience, getting real world experience as an attorney. (Photo: Fara Illich)

Students must complete at least 30 hours of pro bono or public service during their studies, which can be achieved through the Human Services Campus clinic, or others. There are about 10 rotating clinics focusing on domestic violence, mediation, veterans, bankruptcy, Native American wills, immigration, post-conviction relief and other issues.

Getting real world, hands-on experience was a big selling point for Michael Jones, who has participated in multiple clinics, his favorite being Arizona StandDown, which helps veterans in-need. He said it’s different than an internship or working at a firm as a file clerk.

“I get to see every aspect of the legal process,” he said. “I might not always know exactly what to do, but I always have the resources around me to problem-solve.”

Jones is 40 years old, married with a small child. So having the flexibility Summit offers is important too.

The school accepts students with lower Law School Admission Test (LSAT) scores than many other universities, and offers part-time degrees and evening classes — geared toward working adults.

IT’S A DIFFERENT KIND OF LAW SCHOOL


Arizona Summit Law School is an urban campus with clinic and classroom space in the One North Central building of Downtown Phoenix. (Photo: Fara Illich)

It was established to diversify the least-diverse profession, and it’s making inroads in that area. The student body is 41 percent minority, compared with 26 percent at Arizona State University, and 33 percent at the University of Arizona.

“Serving the underserved” extends to the student population as well. The school accepts more students from disadvantaged economic, social or family circumstances.

“When you think of law school, you always think of the high society types,” said Stephen McClain-Lovato, a 30-year-old senior law student. “That general attitude is stripped away at this school. You’re treated as an equal, you’re treated as a peer.” he said, laughing. He’s a Marine Corps veteran, and likes the humanitarian nature of the Human Services Campus clinic. He’s participated in the homelessness clinic multiple semesters, even volunteering during breaks.

DESPITE THE LAID-BACK ATMOSPHERE, THEY’RE TACKLING SOME SERIOUS CASES


There are about 10 rotating legal clinics offered by Arizona Summit Law School focusing on homelessness, domestic violence, mediation, veterans, bankruptcy, Native American wills, immigration, post-conviction relief and other issues. (Photo: Fara Illich)

Part of what makes the clinic so successful is the network of services clustered on the Human Services Campus — enabling students to work faster, more efficiently. Onsite, you can get a state ID, apply for job, submit social security or disability paperwork, find housing programs, get primary and mental healthcare, access substance abuse treatment — in addition to shelter and a hot meal.

The LDRC — where the clinic is located — is often the first stop on the road to ending homelessness.

“It’s an opportunity for individuals who are experiencing homelessness to gain access to legal counsel in an environment that is sometimes not as threatening as the justice system can be,” said Gina Brockdorff, the supportive services manager at the LDRC. “Those who seek out assistance through the clinic are able to face issues that may be the very barrier standing between them and housing.”

Some simple matters require just a few phone calls and can be resolved same-day, others take years. For issues that require court appearances or legal matters the students can’t tackle, they often leverage strong relationships they have with the local legal community.

“One of the things we learned when we first came to the Human Services Campus is: don’t give a man a fish, teach him how to fish,” Daicoff said. “Our clients are in charge of their own advocacy and we’re just helping shepherd the process, rather than fixing their problems for them.”

 

 

Make Your WHY A Way of Life

If you’ve ever spent ten minutes with a three-year old, you can vouch for their curiosity. “Why can’t I touch that?” “Why is my hair brown?” “Why does that woman’s face look so old?” While an untimely “why” can put unsuspecting parents in an embarrassing situation, cultivating curiosity is how every child grows. In fact, we should never shy away from life’s
“whys,” even as our children reach adulthood. Here are several “whys” your grown children or grandchildren actually need to hear from you.

• Have you told them WHY they mean so much to you? Many baby boomers grew up in homes where their mother was the only parent handing out hugs and “I love yous.” Many of these adults are still longing for their parents’ affirmation, and those three little words could change their whole life. Don’t be afraid to tell them WHY they mean so much and how you feel about them.

• Have you told them WHY you embraced faith? In John 6:44, Jesus declares, “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him…” How were you uniquely drawn to Christ? Communicating your faith journey can help instill a godly legacy and inspire curiosity. If serving Jesus is the WHY that gets you out of bed in the morning — tell them!

• Have you told them WHY you have certain personal values? Perhaps you believe a solid work ethic is of utmost importance. What about living with integrity? Exercising financial stewardship or planning for retirement? Are you passionate about supporting a certain cause? If it matters to you, it’s worth sharing with them.

Many individuals are excited to learn they can easily turn their WHY into action, by supporting a ministry or cause that aligns with their values. For instance, a Charitable Gift Annuity is a simple way to communicate your WHY to the next generation, receive an income stream for life, and bless Phoenix Rescue Mission in the process. In his book Start with Why, author and leadership expert Simon Sinek said “When [someone is] unclear about your WHY, WHAT you do has no context.” But the opposite is also true, when your loved ones understand WHY, WHAT you do will mean so much more.

 

A Volunteer’s Perspective

There comes a time in our lives when people cross our paths and we are never the same.

Several months ago, at our volunteer event where we feed dinner to our homeless friends at, Thankful Sundays, I heard the most beautiful music coming from the piano. I walked over and sat down on the stage next to the woman and asked about her story. She was homeless and in an abusive relationship and was struggling with staying away from alcohol because it became easier for her to medicate, to numb the physical and emotional bruises. I knew she wasn’t ready for change yet that day but prayed that the day would come when she would be ready to leave. So, I gave her my cell phone number to call me when she was ready.

The day arrived this morning. I received the call from Barbara that she was on the street and was just discharged from the hospital after her boyfriend beat her up pretty badly last night. I scooped her up off the street corner, and with the help of Clifford Danley and Michele from the Phoenix Rescue Mission, Barbara is now safe. Barbara is now among beautiful, positive and inspirational women and staff at Phoenix Rescue Mission's Changing Lives Center for women and children. Tears flowed down my face and I hugged Barbara, saying goodbye to her.

A life was saved today and I believe that Barbara is an Angel among us, that by telling her story, she will change and save the lives of countless women.

 

Thank you from the bottom of my heart to the Phoenix Rescue Mission, I will be forever grateful for all that you do for countless men and women like Barbara.

From a Long-Time Volunteer,

Meredith