Working poor families coloring Easter Eggs at Phoenix Rescue MissionMission Plans to Serve 600 meals to the Homeless on Easter Sunday

Phoenix, AZ -- The economy has hit the homeless and near-homeless in Phoenix hard. More people are coming to Phoenix Rescue Mission everyday, and more families are being impacted. At the same time, the Mission is facing a critical drop of financial resources as donors reduce their giving because of financial strain.

The Christian community celebrates resurrection and new life each Spring. Phoenix Rescue Mission on Easter Sunday hopes to lift hearts of the poor and homeless in the Valley of the Sun with a hearty meal and gift of love.

The Easter meal can be an opportunity for the homeless to seek renewal. And Phoenix Rescue Mission provides a chance for everyone to participate in the festivities. If trends continue, the Phoenix Rescue Mission will serve 600 homeless men, women and children this Sunday. Volunteers will be serving heaping helpings of ham, eggs, bacon, pastries, hash browns and fruit -- not to mention a friendly smile.

"Meals can be the entry point for the homeless to find other services we offer that can help them get off the streets permanently," said Jerry Sandvig, President and CEO, Phoenix Rescue Mission. "Many of our guests are newly homeless -- they were not homeless a year ago, but job loss, foreclosures and other economic impacts have resulted in their seeking our services. We know many are looking from a program based on Christian values. In though times we want to provide our guests with a loving, home-like atmosphere."

Founded in 1952, Phoenix Rescue Mission provides food, shelter, chapel and other services to the homeless and working poor people of metropolitan Phoenix. Hundreds of hot meals are served daily. Showers and clean clothing are offered to anyone in need. 150 beds provide shelter for men nightly. A 12-month, spiritually based, addiction recovery program is available for up to 30 men at one time.

In July, the Phoenix Rescue Mission will expand its addiction recovery services to women and women with children at our new Changing Lives Center for women and children. It was through daily meals that Mission staff noticed a dramatic increase in the numbers of women with children coming to eat in our dining hall and returning to the streets. The Mission is thrilled to dedicate the Center next month and begin accepting families in July.

"We serve meals every day," said Jerry. "We couldn't do all we do without the help of our gracious volunteers and generous donors. Financially it is a challenging time for us. We see do many who need help, and we want to give them our best."

Tom’s Story

Phoenix Rescue Mission's Jerry Sandvig with Tom Murray

I had the privledge of meeting Tom Murray at our Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon in April. He was our featured speaker and when he took his place behind the podium in his suit and tie, I had no idea how powerful the story he was about to share with us would be. Here in his own words, is Tom's story of homelessness and hope.

"I lived in Phoenix many years, and for the most part, I lived on the streets in central Phoenix.  I had jobs and then I had months of no jobs and homelessness.  I used to sleep in the bushes along I-17 near Grant Street in the years before I first went to the Phoenix Rescue Mission.

Those years were mostly awful. When I finally went to the Mission in October 2001, I was seriously ill (I didn't know it) and in fact, I laid on a piece of cardboard for several days outside the gate of the Mission - I was just too sick and tired to get up. I had what you might call a life changing experience before I went to the Mission.

I had a heart attack and underwent several heart surgeries while I lived at the Mission and I remember Jerry Sandvig coming to lead Bible studies when I was not able to get out of my bed.  What a blessing Jerry and everyone at the Mission were to me, and are now to many people.

I am school in Kansas City now, completing my doctorate degree and I will be a Doctor of Chiropractic next year.  I plan on returning to Phoenix to help Jerry and everyone else at the Mission.

~Tom Murray"

There are many more homeless men just like Tom. Please visit our website to see how you can help or to find out more about our Addiction Recovery Program.

~Debra Pryor

Don’t Look Back

Jerry Sandvig, President & CEO of Phoenix Rescue Mission

"Don't look back. Something might be gaining on you."

This is a quote from Satchel Paige, a famous baseball player in the early 20th century.

I hadn't given this saying much thought until the early part of this year. Throughout the years, I have enjoyed keeping you updated on the matters of the Phoenix Rescue Mission. I have enjoyed it because the reports on God's blessing on this ministry of His are exciting and because His blessings typically flow to us through the donors and volunteers that make up our Mission family.

Everyone is aware of the difficulties generated by this present economic downturn. It seems few lives have been spared from its effects. Since the Mission provides food, clothing, shelter and many services based on care for those we serve, the demand for these basics of life have continued to grow beyond any expectations. As we look forward through our doors, we see ever-increasing crowds of men, women and children in need. We see the same crowd, yet, different faces. And, as we look back something is indeed gaining on us, the human wreckage of this economic condition.

We feel the costs of serving "gaining on us." The last thing we ever want to do is reduce services because what we do is what God has called us to do.

I thank you for your faithful support since you have allowed the Mission to grow to serve so many people in need. I appeal to you at this time for your continued help and increased help where you can.

When all is said and done, our greatest asset and path to provisions is prayer. We hear everyday from many people who keep this work bathed in prayer. For that we offer our profound thanks.

I'm not sure about the theology of Satchel Paige's saying , but there is wisdom in what he says. "Don't pray when it rains, if you don't pray when the sun shines."

May you experience God's continued blessings in your life.

Peace and Joy,

Jerry Sandvig
President & CEO
Phoenix Rescue Mission

Thank you for your faithfulness

Jerry Sandvig, President & CEO of Phoenix Rescue Mission

One of the Mission's challenges from year to year is to anticipate needs and numbers of the homeless, hungry and poor who come to our doors.

With that in mind the next challenge is, where will we find the food, clothing, volunteers and donors to meet those needs?

Year after year we find the answer in the place that has always brought together those in need and those who are willing to help them. This is God's work and He is faithful to provide us with what we need to serve those in need. God is our source and He is faithful as we are devoted to carrying out the vision that He places before us and to conducting all of our work just as Jesus taught us, with love and compassion.

Of course, there are no 18 wheelers from heaven to meet the needs of those we serve; however, our large Mission family generates our resources as God touches their lives. During the past year, with our greatest demand ever for food and services, the Lord orchestrated more grocery stores to supply food for pickup. We also had more volunteers to pack food boxes, pack daily sack lunches and serve in all of our many ministries.

As things became more difficult in our economy, the Mission donors responded so generously, in a way that there were no services cut. Instead we were able to expand in many areas to meet the growing needs of His people.

To all of you who donate your time as volunteers and resources to carry out this work, I say thank you from the Board, staff and especially from those who come to us in such need. And, a special thank you to those who take time to pray for this work and those we serve. I know those prayers are heard and they are part of the faithfulness our faithful Father wants to hear.

Thanks to all of you in the Phoenix Rescue Mission family and may God bless you!

Peace and Joy,

Jerry Sandvig
President & CEO
Phoenix Rescue Mission