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.

Code:Red Success

Mission Accomplished!

This year marks seven years of Code:Red. That’s seven summers our community has come together to save the lives of our homeless neighbors caught in the deadly heat. Each year gets better and better and 2019 is no different. This summer, we distributed more than 900,000 bottles of life-saving water, gathered through more than 120 drives, to those who needed it most. And we have you to thank for it!

But it’s more than water that keeps people safe – through your matching gift this summer we also provided relief through nutritious food, sunscreen, hats, and more, designed to help the homeless beat our record-breaking heat.

You made sure our streets were awash with hope and help this summer – thank you for the prayers, volunteer hours and support that made this Code:Red another resounding
success!

Prepared for Success

Your support gives children the hope and confidence to start the school year right!

It’s just before noon at Cesar Chavez High School as a steady stream of parents and energetic children make their way into the school’s gymnasium. Although the event has been underway for a number of hours, there hasn’t been a moments pause in the lineup of families waiting to get inside. Today is an exciting day for the children gathered here, and perhaps more significantly, a day of relief for the parents. For them, the question of how they are going to provide the back to school supplies their kids need for the upcoming school
year has been answered.

 

“It’s just such a huge thing!” says Ronda, one of the parents in attendance with her four kids. “To be able to come here and take care of all this, it just takes so much of the pressure off.” The large event required 30 volunteers. Volunteer Cheri and her young daughter Riley are here at the event helping hand out backpacks to the children. Riley, with help from her parents, worked to raise more than $1,200 for backpacks and school supplies through selling bracelets via social media.

Through your partnership, Phoenix Rescue Mission prepared more than 1,200 children for success this school year by providing free backpacks, school supplies, and uniforms they otherwise would go without. Thank you for your continuing support that helps us to even the playing field and give all kids – regardless of their family’s financial situation - a winning chance to succeed.