It’s 4:30 a.m. Long before most of us roll out of bed, Gabe is loading the last of the sack lunches on Phoenix Rescue Mission’s Glendale Works trailer. His mission is clear – to hire 11 homeless men and women for five hours of work cleaning up the streets of Glendale.
But his goal isn’t as obvious as you would think.
When Gabe hits the road, it’s not just to provide someone with a day of honest work, or a meal, or even to beautify the streets of Glendale. He’s out there for something far more important. To inspire, to motivate and, ultimately, to transform lives.
“I used to serve on the [Phoenix Rescue Mission’s] Hope Coach, but I like this better. I get to spend extended time with people, it’s not so random. While there’s something to be said for random opportunities, the people who are showing up to work seem to have motivation to change. It’s easier to direct them toward better things.”
Gabe already has fans. Sylvia, who started signing up for the program shortly after it began last November, sees him as a role model.
“He’s cool,” says Sylvia. “He started from nothing too. If he can do it, and be this happy, so can we. It’s inspiring. He makes it look possible.”
Those who sign up receive $55 for a fivehour shift, a breakfast and a sack lunch, as well as the opportunity to connect with resources designed to end homelessness. It’s a popular program. The waitlist for Glendale Works currently sits at a week and a half, but it’s changing lives every day.
Virginia, who has completed more than 30 shifts over the past few months, now has enough saved to make the trip back home to New Jersey and start over. Donovan, who is working alongside Sylvia, Virginia and eight others this morning, will eat well tonight because of the wage he earns here.
“It really was a blessing because I needed the money,” says Donovan. “I wasn’t able to eat for a while… it was a struggle. If there wasn’t anything around like this, I don’t know what I’d do.”
As summer comes and the temperatures begin to rise, Glendale Works also represents another way to help the homeless out of the deadly heat as a part of our Code:Red initiative.
Thank you for the prayers and support that make programs like this possible! We’ve had such success that we’re looking to roll out Works programs to other cities in the Phoenix Metro area soon – stay tuned for details!