Bringing a Light to the Valley of Shadows

After fleeing from an abusive relationship nearly two months ago, Linda and her daughter, Lisa, have been spending their nights camped out on the sidewalk. So far, they’ve managed to survive the streets. But now the cool spring days are gone.

Summer is here and so is the deadly heat. Bed sheets are strung across their “campsite” in an attempt to hide themselves from the oppressive sun, but it’s not enough to keep them safe.

Already the highs for the day are above 110 degrees and climbing. Heat stroke can strike, regardless of shade. Linda informs the Hope Coach workers that they are the first, beyond a few policemen, to stop by in the past two months and attempt to help.

 

She’s grateful for the water and the hope totes she receives to help keep them safe. Even better – she’s asked us for a followup visit to see how she can get off the streets once and for all! Please pray with us that the next time we see Linda and Lisa they’ll be ready to take that
first step in faith toward transformation! The sidewalk campsite that Linda and Lisa call home won’t be able to protect them from the blistering summer heat.

 

 

 

Back to School Event

The first day of school can be an anxious time for any child. It’s especially tough for the kids who come from low income families and unstable households. The ones who’ve grown up destitute or even homeless. At the Mission, we see them every day at our Changing Lives Center for Women & Children. They’re full of potential, but circumstances beyond their control have held them back. They deserve our love and support. For kids like these, the first day of school can bring taunting, teasing, and trouble focusing on their studies. They can fall behind their classmates, simply because they lack access to school supplies so many of us take for granted. But through your support of Phoenix Rescue Mission’s Back-to-School event, you can offer children a better chance at a brighter future. Your support will provide Maricopa County kids with backpacks, clothing, school supplies . . . everything they need to succeed in the new school year! It’s heartbreaking to think of less fortunate children in our community starting school at a disadvantage because their families can’t afford adequate supplies.

You can help someone like Estelle, a grandmother of five children, ranging in age from 6 to 13. She works, but her paycheck just barely stretches to cover rent and food for the family. Estelle couldn’t stand the thought of her beloved grand kids showing up to school empty-handed on their first day. Like any parent or grandparent, she only wanted what’s best for the children in her care: “I want them to do well in school, and that’s hard if you think you don’t measure up,” she says. Though she came to the Mission with a look of desperation in her eyes, Estelle left with a cheerful smile. “All five of my grand babies got school uniforms in the right size and were able to pick a backpack,” she reports. “I went from worry to peace when I saw the number of people who cared.” It is through your support and love that families like Estelle's are prepared for the school year. Please give generously today to help more kids like Estelle’s get the clothing and supplies they need to succeed in school. Thank you in advance for your caring heart.

Thank you to our partners at Aetna Medicaid and Banner Aetna, who worked with the AZ Christian ERG to supply all of the 1200 backpacks we need for our event! Now we need YOUR help to fill them with new school supplies. Please consider filling durable backpacks with the following.

 

K-5th Grade

  • 2 boxes of pencils
  • 1 package of pens
  • 2 pink eraser
  • 1 box of crayons
  • 1 package of lined paper
  • 2 spiral notebooks
  • 1 package of dry erase markers 
  • 1 pencil box or pouch
  • 2 glue sticks
  • 3 folders with prongs

Optional Items (to be shared with the whole class)

  • Clorox wipes
  • Ziploc bags (gallon size & sandwich size)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Kleenex

6-8th Grade

  • 3 boxes of pencils
  • 1 pink eraser
  • 2 packages of lined paper 
  • 6 spiral notebooks
  • 1 thin dry erase marker
  • 1 glue stick
  • 8 pocket folders
  • 1 package of highlighters
  • 1 box of colored pencils
  • 1 1.5 inch binder
  • 3 black pens and 3 blue pens
  • 1 pencil sharpener

Optional Items (to be shared with the whole class)

  • Clorox wipes
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Kleenex

 

If you would like to deliver backpacks and supplies, our warehouse is located at 1468 N 26th Ave, Phoenix 85009.  The hours of operation are 8am – 4pm, Monday – Friday. We can also arrange a pick up for you if you have a large amounts of supplies. Please schedule your transportation request two weeks prior to your pick-up date.

If you would like to get started with your own back to school drive contact Catie at chammann@phoenixrescuemission.org or (602) 346-3347 with any questions or concerns.

Thank you for partnering with us to help our students have a wonderful first day of school!

MAKE A DONATION FOR THE SCHOOL DRIVE HERE!

Soldiers of Jesus Hiking Club

It’s dark, just after 5 A.M., as Kyoko begins her ascent up Camelback Mountain. Behind her is a group of men who hope they have what it takes to follow her. With each step, the rough terrain challenges their resolve to reach the top. They are led by a single headlamp, meant to symbolize the guiding light that God provides. It’s a test of endurance. Those who
eventually reach the summit will find a new sense of strength within themselves and tangible proof that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

 

 

This is the Soldiers of Jesus Hiking Club. It’s a mentally and physically challenging, growthoriented hiking ministry started by Kyoko Hope two years ago to enrich the faith and spirit of those in our Men’s Recovery Program. The club’s purpose is not only to build perseverance, it’s the latest iteration of a promise Kyoko made to God 10 years ago. You’d never know it by her jubilant attitude, but Kyoko is a domestic violence survivor. In the midst of those dark days, she cried out to God for help, promising that if He would get her through, she would share the love of Christ in return.

 

 

God answered. Later, during the divorce hearings, a judge referred her to Phoenix Rescue Mission for help living out her promise. Kyoko has been ministering as a volunteer in our Men’s Chapel ever since. But in 2016, God inspired her to do more. “The more I ministered in the chapel, the more I gained a relationship with the brothers [men in our recovery program] there,” says Kyoko. “Then one day I felt it.” Kyoko had a vision. She saw a way to encourage our men by exposing them to their own physical limitations, to help them learn to rely on God’s strength when their own strength had run out.

 

 

 

 

She called it Soldiers of Jesus Hiking Club, after 2 Timothy 2:3: “Join with me in suffering, like a good soldier of Christ Jesus.” “Hiking is a journey like life,” says Kyoko. “Finding a way up the mountain helps to engrain in them a spirit to never give up.” In the past two years, over 200 “Soldiers” have already made it up Camelback Mountain to experience the sunrise, and celebrate their victory through worship and prayer at the summit. Although Kyoko will be taking a ‘safety break’ during the sweltering summer months, she hopes to increase that number to 300 when she resumes the hikes in September. “Camelback is tough, it’s very steep. I always tell them, ‘Don’t look at the top. Just follow the light and that will get you there.’” Whether you’re a hiker or not, there’s a lesson there for all
of us.

 

A Tote Filled with Hope

 

For many homeless, living on the streets will mean that they must go without – without a roof over their heads, without a place to shower, and during the sweltering summer months in Phoenix, without any real place of respite from the deadly heat. In an effort to keep them safe, the Phoenix Rescue Mission’s Hope Coach travels the streets of Phoenix, offering water, assistance, and Hope Totes to the homeless they meet. Jessica, grateful to have received a tote of her own, discusses with the Hope Coach team the difficulties she’s facing. “Out here, there are so many people waiting to take advantage of you. So seeing a friendly face that welcomes you and is there for you…” Jessica says, as tears roll down her face. “I’m very thankful for Phoenix Rescue Mission and everyone who works with them. You really do help and make a difference.” These totes perform double duty – not only giving hope in a physical way, but also a means to begin a, hopefully, life-transforming discussion.

Inside the one-gallon Ziploc bag, recipients will find basic necessities, such as food, hygiene kits, socks, and other items that can help make the summer months easier to navigate. The tote Jessica received was special – it was one of the 1,455 totes handmade and donated by Palm West Community Church, and made with more than 35,000 items! Jim and Claudia Smith, Palm West’s Hope Tote Coordinators, said, “Our members work on this ministry all year long. We trust the bags will bring hope to those who receive them.” Thank you, Palm West Community Church, for your faithful service to our community! During these harshest parts of the summer, Phoenix Rescue Mission is especially in need of a large supply of these totes.

You can help make a big impact by donating Hope Totes during our Code Red Heat Relief campaign. For instructions on assembling and where to drop them off, please visit phoenixrescuemission.org/you-can-help/volunteer/

Thank you for your continued support in helping make this sweltering summer safe for those with no place to find relief.

Code:Red Summer Heat Relief

In anticipation of what could be its hottest summer ever recorded, the Code:Red Summer Heat Relief has begun! The program, which will run until August 31, is dedicated to providing food, water, and other heat relief to the elderly and homeless population in the Valley of the Sun.

Men, women, and children experiencing homelessness are at risk of dying from excessive heat, a fate that 114 individuals fell victim to in 2017 in Phoenix.

Here's how you can help:

  • Organize a water drive - challenge your co-workers, family, friends, or church to join you in providing life-saving water this summer to those who need it most. Ready to start your drive? Contact Catie Hammann: chammann@phoenixrescuemission.org or 602-346-3347 to get started!
  • Volunteer - there are plenty of opportunities at the Phoenix Rescue Mission to make a difference in the lives of those we serve. See our latest volunteer opportunities HERE.
  • Donate - If you live in Arizona, you know costs rise in the summer time. From air to energy, man-power and extra equipment, our summer time costs are high. Make your greatest impact by simply donating. Because of a generous donor, your GIFT WILL DOUBLE thanks to a matching grant! Make your donation HERE.

Volunteer drivers will help the Hope Coach Outreach program to deliver needed items to the Valley’s homeless and elderly population. Drop-off sites that accept donations of heat relief items like hats, sunscreen and water are located throughout the city. If you are interested in helping The Red Summer Heat Relief Campaign, contact Catie Hammann: chammann@phoenixrescuemission.org or 602-346-3347 or learn more HERE.