Thanksgiving at the Rescue Mission
Meet Danny. At eleven years old he started using drugs. Eventually his home life and drug use led him to meth and the continued use caused the loss of everything dear to him, including all of his front teeth. Thankfully his father talked him into going to the Rescue Mission.
The Good News Rescue Mission is Shasta County’s only homeless shelter and the only AGRM shelter in the Sacramento Valley north of Oroville and south of Medford/Klamath Falls. It’s located at 2842 S. Market Street Redding, CA and run by Cesar Patida. Founded in 1964 by a group of concerned Christians, theGNRM offers a hand up and the opportunity for New Life to thousands of men, women and children in our community.
With Thanksgiving coming in a few days, I started to think about how thankful I am for the upbringing and home I grew up in and wonder what is happening to other people that didn’t have those things? I’m wanting to give back all the generosity I have received in my life, and have been thinking about where to go, what to do? A couple days ago some friends and I decided to go on a tour of the Good News Rescue Mission to find out what they do there. I’ve been so distraught seeing all of these homeless people all over the city. They are on busy corners with their signs “Homeless, hungry, anything helps, God bless”. And when you stop right beside them you know they’re staring at you. Especially if you just got out of the grocery store and your back seat is stuffed full of sacks of groceries to feed your family. How can I drive by and say “Sorry, I don’t have anything for you”.
At church we’re told to take care of the poor. I know that’s true, I need to do that, but what does that look like? Do I stop and give everyone I see some money? A bed to sleep in? A meal? A friend of mine stopped and gave a man his jacket, and bought him a night at a hotel. Is that what we’re supposed to do? Or is God talking about a neighbor or friend who is less fortunate than me? Someone who’s really struggling financially, emotionally, or physically, and I’m able to help them in some way. I say Yes! To all the above. The most important thing I can be doing is listen to God. What is He telling me to do? But, until I get better at listening to His whisper, I want to get educated. So we called up our local rescue mission the Good News Rescue Mission in Redding and asked for a tour.
THE RESCUE MISSION TOUR
Sharre greeted our small group and took us on a tour. We were amazed! We got ready for a walk to see all of their facilities which are paid in full through the generous donations of the surrounding community. We toured the education center and then moved on to the kitchen and met Danny. What a treat.
Danny told us his story of what life was like before coming to the Rescue Mission. At 11 years old he began using drugs. There was no one at home to teach him the right thing to do. He stayed in that unhealthy environment, eventually losing all of his front teeth to the horrible effects of meth. Finally his father here in Redding convinced him to try the Rescue Mission. He wouldn’t do it the first couple of times he suggested it, but finally Danny gave up. He no longer wanted to be on the streets. He joyfully told us about his gratefulness to God for being alive and for the Rescue Mission teaching him how to have life skills and to get a job and a beautiful new smile. He’s been at the Rescue Mission 8 years and now heads up the kitchen; cooking, serving and directing new guests serving over 650 meals a day!
Next we headed upstairs to the men’s quarters. These men have applied and been accepted into the program for 12-18 months. We were greeted by a small group of men worshipping with a guitar, and after our guide shouted out the “All clear! Women on the floor!”, to make sure there was no one “surprised” by our visit we walked on for our tour. What a beautiful sound to walk into worship and to know that just a few short months ago, these amazing men were on the streets with no hope for their future.
A man then walked down the hall and Sharre stopped him with “Would you share your testimony with us please?”. Nervous but obedient, he(for confidentiality reasons we will refer to as Nate) began to tell us his testimony of being on the streets and having come to the Rescue Mission and turned his life around. His kind smiling face, dark hair, mustache, complete with tatoos stunned us as we listened to the transformation in his life. He now volunteers to go into the schools and share his testimony with the high schools of how their lives might turn out if they don’t make good choices and then hopefully they can see that he made some good choices and there is hope for them too. The best part of the story was filled in later.
Nate was helping pick up a delivery for the Rescue Mission at Walmart a few days ago. While there a newsman was filming some holiday film for the tv station. He and Nate began to chat and Nate shared his testimony with him. He also shared that only 2 years ago he was on television for a crime, but that his life had now changed. The interviewer said “I’m going to change your identity right now”. He did an interview with him and now he was on tv for being a radically changed person, who is helping the community. Praise God! What a wonderful story.
We continued on our tour to observe a large long white building that had recently been purchased for storage and food. Many of the people that come to the Rescue Mission have a few small belongings and they are able to have lockers for them all to store their things until they can get a job and find their own home. They will also hav e the ability to store extra food as they continue to grow.
The women’s shelter was looking beautiful on the outside, thanks to some volunteers that planted trees, bushes, made a path for children’s bikes and installed a playground. So comforting for women who must be so scared and not know where to go. Currently they are only able to take about 10 women with children for the full time program, until they get more space. The need for women’s program has increased by 400% since 4 years ago. They will, however allow women to spend the night so they don’t have to stay out in the cold.
SHORT TERM MEN’S FACILITY
We then toured the facility that packs the men in nightly, which is their greatest need. This is the place they begin on a nightly stay and if they apply and are accepted, eventually can move from there into their long term facility, which is a more home like environment. We also met Pastor Dan who has such a heart for these men. So grateful for people like him who give so much. So much to tell! Too much for this little story, so you’ll have to go to their website to see all the amazing things they offer.
I now know that:
- I can offer food to the homeless that I drive by every day
- I do not have to offer them money.
- There is a meal and a place to sleep for every one that needs one.
- Those that do not come here choose to because they usually do not want to follow the rules No alcohol or drugs are allowed They cannot come in and out at night.
- Once there they have to stay the night.
- They will have to find another alternative for their animals.
WHAT CAN WE DO TODAY TO HELP?
- I thought possibly I could hand out granola bars. Carry them around with me, with a card taped to the bars in case they needed to know about the Rescue Mission.
- Sharre said we could also give out bus tickets for those that might say they couldn’t get to the Rescue Mission. But here’s a list of some of their immediate needs:
- Jesus Film – Hopefully enough donations to put film in every Christmas basket. Expect to have 1,000 people come through that live in their own home, but are going to need food. (($2500)
- New home for women
- Additional space for men
- Food – Can be dropped off at any time (especially turkeys for Thanksgiving and Christmas) Prayer
- Mentors for men and women, especially women Go down for a visit!
Cesar Partida (Executive Director) and staff will be there to greet you and direct you to whatever your heart is and to answer questions.
Good News Rescue Mission
2842 South Market Street
Redding, CA 96001
Well, there you have it! Please check out their website. A group of amazing people doing so much to help the community.
Are you going to be ready? One way or another we will be involved in difficult times ahead. Whether we will need help ourselves, or be ready to help others. What can you do to be prepared?