One of the most incredible things I’ve learned about the Fort Wayne Rescue Mission during a recent tour of the facility is this: we are only fully aware of about half of its impact in our community. The Rescue Mission is far more than the soup kitchen and emergency shelter we are familiar with. In fact, this organization boasts an expanded women and children’s shelter, rehabilitation services which provide life skills and job training, and an astonishing meal service which is utilized by both shelter residents and those with homes of their own. Since its establishment in 1903, the Rescue Mission has been providing its residents with so much more than a bed and a meal–it has guided countless citizens to a healthy resilience in the face of life’s tragedies.
Under the umbrella of the Rescue Mission there are several ministries in operation; the Charis House, which serves the women and children who need emergency and long-term shelter, as well as counseling and child care, has recently opened a larger facility which offers 78 beds. The Restoration House, which is located in the central building of the Rescue Mission, works tirelessly to assist men struggling with trauma, addiction, and mental illness. At the Restoration House, the residents are often engaged in long-term (or “intensive”) care which provides a structured daily schedule devoted to rebuilding self-respect, employment skills, and elements of healthy relationships. They are expected to perform chores, attend classes, and make significant efforts towards a personal goal–and so long as the clients are pursuing these changes, they are welcome to remain at the Mission. This personal coaching and prayerful fellowship, led by Mission leaders such as its CEO Pastor Donovan Coley and his dedicated staff, is certainly an amazing act of grace. Within the community, there is another ministry of the Rescue Mission at work which many of us would not ordinarily associate with this organization. If you have ever driven past Bargains Galore on Lafayette and Dewald, then you have seen the Treasure House ministry at work. It is, however, much more than a charity-driven thrift store. When new residents enter the Restoration House, they are given a voucher to Bargains Galore to receive new clothes–which often provides a fresh outlook, ripe with self-confidence and hope. The shop also provides some of the residents with jobs, a key element to their rehabilitation.
Returning to the well-worn misconception of the Rescue Mission as a simple soup kitchen and homeless shelter: this organization is the recipient of several major endorsements from companies such as Do-It-Best, Pizza Hut, JP Morgan, and Hagerman Construction. The incredible corporate sponsorships have granted the Mission the opportunity to continue serving our community with faithfulness and inspiring commitment. However, the work is shared among limited staff and a growing crew of volunteers–and this is where you can help. The possibilities of serving the Rescue Mission are many: guest services (answering the phones, office work, etc), ministry positions like leading Bible studies and aiding in worship experiences, transportation assistants, and other enriching roles are needing to be filled by compassionate, dedicated citizens like you. To gain more information about volunteering and the requirements of these incredible opportunities, visit Fort Wayne Rescue Mission and learn more about this inspirational organization. The Mission is located at 301 West Superior Street in Fort Wayne. If you are unsure of how you might fit into this unique environment, I would enthusiastically recommend a tour of the facility, during which the staff of the Mission is welcoming and fantastically helpful in answering any questions. If you feel called to serve at the Fort Wayne Rescue Mission, or even if you’re just curious to discover more about their multiple ministries, please don’t hesitate to contact them. There are so many residents who could benefit from your kindness and encouragement.