Changing the Future of Homelessness – Brick by Brick | Jason’s Story

It’s 7 a.m. when our Street Outreach van pulls up outside a church on East Osborn Road. Despite the early morning cold, a group of five is already there ready and waiting for a chance to make a difference.

Each one is experiencing homelessness, but they’ve heard word on the street that there are meals to be had and money to be made doing a job that might directly benefit them someday.

Jason boards the van, joking and laughing, knowing he’s not only in for an honest day’s work, but something more. He’s heard that what he’s building today has the potential to change the state of homelessness in Arizona – one brick at a time.

It’s called Scottsdale Works and it’s the newest program at Phoenix Rescue Mission. Like Glendale Works, it gives men and women on the streets the opportunity to earn a fair wage for an honest day’s labor while connecting them to all the life-changing resources Phoenix Rescue Mission has to offer.

While Glendale Works cleans dirt in city beautification projects, Scottsdale Works is using dirt to build the future, brick by brick.

The Scottsdale Works program is designed to engage individuals experiencing homelessness in Scottsdale, provide them with the dignity of earning a wage, and connect them with services that can break down the barriers that are keeping them homeless - all while providing a service to the community as a whole.

“Once cured, the bricks are very strong,” says Mike Lopach who oversees operations in this joint venture with the City of Scottsdale.

“The hope is to use these bricks to benefit people experiencing homelessness by building tiny home communities,” says Mike. “They’ve got them in Detroit, St. Louis and Portland. But where those are built from sheds, we are building ours out of much more energy-efficient bricks. The key is to provide a dignified living space that is welcoming and has services available.

Mike and Jason check the measurement of a brick. The team is capable of producing enough bricks to complete one tiny home every four to five days.

Working together, participants are able to produce about 50-60 bricks per hour or about 250-300 per day. With 200 square-foot tiny homes requiring about 1,500 bricks each, this team is capable of crafting enough to produce one home every four to five days.

Since launching on November 30, 2020, the program has already changed Jason’s life. Homeless for over 20 years, Jason found work through Scottsdale Works as one of our first participants and today he’s living in the first apartment he’s ever had to himself.

“It’s a dream,” says Jason with a smile. “I don’t have to worry about sitting at the bus stop or trying to find a dry place at night to sleep. I can come and go as I please. I have some money in my pocket; it’s not much but it’s enough.”

Jason isn’t the only one feeling pride in their work and where it’s got them. In the first few months of operation, Scottsdale Works already has a rotating team of 20 strong with more on the way.

“The goal is to keep our participants coming back two or three times a month… enough time to see progress – to see some of our services in action in the lives of their co-workers,” says Reese, our Street Outreach Coordinator for Scottsdale Works, “For example, we were able to furnish Jason’s new apartment with a microwave, pots and pans, dishes and linens, all the necessities you need for an apartment. Once the other participants hear about it, they start asking what else we can do – and that opens the door to all sorts of transformation.

Scottsdale Works is another example of how your support is making transformation possible in new and innovative ways.

“If this hadn’t come along, I’d still be on the streets,” says Jason. “After so many years, I figured I’d die on the streets. This gave me new hope.

Reese (left), our Street Outreach Coordinator for Scottsdale Works, helped navigate Jason off the streets, into his own apartment, and connected him to services to help set him up for success.

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!

Cookies for a Cause

Time is running out to order your Mission Possible Cookies before the holiday rush!

Mission Possible Cookies are a gift - a great gift for giving to friends, family and business associates - and an amazing gift for the women we serve at the Phoenix Rescue Mission.

See, everyday beautifully wrapped gift boxes you purchase support the Phoenix Rescue Mission's work force development programs. Women like Shannon, who earned her high school diploma while living at the Changing lives Center. Or Michelle, who completed our Kitchen Manager certification course and will begin a new career as a restaurant manager.

Mission Possible Cookies are baked fresh daily in our A-graded commercial kitchen and shipped to your door. Not only are the cookies delicious, they are Changing Lives on Cookie at a Time.

 

Place your orders and learn more at https://giftcookies.com/