Denver Rescue Mission Posts

Two Missions Go Head-to-Head for #SB50

It wouldn’t be the Super Bowl without some friendly rivalry!

Our Denver Rescue Mission CEO has made a wager with the Charlotte Rescue Mission CEO out in Charlotte, North Carolina…

WHEN Denver WINS, the CEO of Charlotte Rescue Mission Tony Marciano has to do a video of himself doing a touchdown dance wearing a Peyton Manning jersey. If we lose, our CEO Brad Meuli will perform the dreaded “Newton dab” on the roof of Denver Rescue Mission while wearing a Cam Newton jersey.

#SB50MissionChallenge

“Each Rescue Mission works with people struggling with addiction, poverty and hopelessness” says Rev. Tony Marciano, CEO of the Charlotte Rescue Mission. “We work with our residents each day to build a foundation of sobriety in order to return them as contributing members of society. Part of what we teach them is that they can be clean and sober and don’t have to get “high” or “drunk” to have a good time. We are modeling in front of them the very behavior we want them to embrace – enjoy life clean and sober.”

Like Denver Rescue Mission, the Charlotte Rescue Mission has a long history of reaching out to the homeless and those battling addictions.

Like Denver Rescue Mission, the Charlotte Rescue Mission has a long history of reaching out to the homeless and those battling addictions.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The other reason for this challenge is to highlight the strong working partnership between both Rescue Missions. “Even though Rescue Missions operate independently, these two missions have been partnering together since 1998, sharing best practices to positively impact the people coming to them  seeking help and hope from their life crisis,” says Brad Meuli President and CEO of Denver Rescue Mission. “This challenge highlights our strong partnership to help people move beyond the crisis of experiencing homelessness.”

Two Missions. One cause. One BIG GAME!

Let’s go Broncos!!!

75,000 Meals and Counting At Our New Lawrence Street Community Center

By Guest Author: Kevin Hein, Lawrence Street Community Center Supervisor

After a long period of faithful waiting, we’re amazed at what’s happened so quickly since our new Lawrence Street Community Center opened. In just seven weeks, we’ve hosted two Holiday Banquets and served more guests than ever in our new expanded dining room.

Our new Lawrence Street Community Center dining area seats 275 people

Our new Lawrence Street Community Center dining room holds more than 300 people

During our legal challenges surrounding the community center last fall, I remember someone asking me…”Kevin, are people going to come visit this space when we open?” My answer was, “Of course they will!” Nobody, however, could have anticipated the surprising amount of guests that we’ve welcomed and served in this newly forming community.

We officially opened our doors on November 23, 2015 for our first lunch service and since then we’ve seen overwhelming use of our facility and a strong feeling of community forming.

A guest enjoys a warm meal at our fully ADA accessible center

A guest enjoys a warm meal at our fully ADA accessible center

Physical needs provided to-date:

  • 75,000+ meals have been served (averaging more than 1,500 meals every day)
  • More than 3,300 unique guests have visited our center
  • Protection from inclement weather, which was especially important during the December cold snaps
  • Overwhelming use of our 13 bathroom stalls

Spiritual, emotional and communal support developing:

  • Guests are finding new purpose as they care for themselves, others and our space
  • Our staff create community and purposeful relationships every day with those in need
  • We’re building character through group devotions, bible studies, women’s group, arts & crafts and other activities that get our guests involved
  • With the increased capacity at our new center, more men and women are learning about our life-changing programs and starting on a path to a new future

We feel blessed to do life with those in need and our new Lawrence Street Community Center has provided even more opportunities to form important bonds and change lives. Yet, we are often heartbroken by the overwhelming population of those experiencing deep brokenness and poverty here in Denver. As part of our Mission family, we ask that you please continue to pray for our new center and for all of our guests – that they all would discover the new and abundant life found through faith in Jesus Christ.

 

One Man’s Trash…

“Excuse me, sir,” I heard the man call after me as my wife and I left my local grocery store.

I turned to my left to see who called out to me, and was greeted by a short, stocky man wearing a large backpack stretched across his broad shoulders. His light brown beard was thick and unkempt, and his long, oily hair was tucked neatly underneath a baseball cap. Glasses perched gently on his nose. His name was Jay.

“How are you tonight?” I replied once I realized he was indeed talking to me.

He explained that he was trying to get a hotel room for the night before the cold weather blew in. He needed cash.

With debit and credit cards these days, I find myself short on cash often. I explained as much, and Jay nodded in understanding.

I asked him if he’d heard of Denver Rescue Mission. He said he had, but it’s a shelter for men only. He needed a place to stay with his young daughter. The shelter wasn’t a good solution for them both. He expressed concern about exposing his daughter to the dangers of substance abuse so prevalent on the streets. This time it was my turn to nod.

“You want to see something amazing,” he asked as we were about to part ways.

As I hesitated to reply, he explained that he had found a very early copy of The Raven by Edgar Allen Poe. My wife used to work at a library, so she was immediately intrigued.

We moved away from the middle of the parking lot to a location with better light, and the man began to unpack his treasure.

“You’re going to laugh when you see how I have this thing protected,” he said smiling.

He pulled out a small bundle wrapped in two Chick-fil-A French fry containers. Inside the small bundle, the book was wrapped in a small plastic bag and the plastic wrapper from a package of socks or underwear. He was right. I burst out laughing when he explained it was the best thing he had to keep the book dry and clean. But I was impressed by his ingenuity.

He gently unfolded the plastic and revealed the tattered but well preserved book. It was bound in sheep skin and still had its original potato skin pages just inside the cover.

As he gently flipped through the pages, it was obvious that this was actually something special. He explained how he was hoping to find someone to purchase the book.

We sat there for several minutes admiring the old book. Jay explained that he used to be an English teacher.

At one point, he was describing his experience being homeless and how a woman had spit on him. The shame of it sat heavy on his shoulders.

“I’m just a worthless piece of garbage,” he said.

I looked him in the eye and told him he was wrong. Surprised by my sudden stern attitude, he tilted his head slightly as if asking a question.

“You are not worthless,” I said gently.

His shoulders relaxed and an understanding smile spread across his face.

“Thank you,” he said sincerely. “I know. It’s just so easy to start thinking those kinds of things about yourself.”

Before we parted ways, we gave him a watertight plastic bag to help protect his book. It wasn’t enough really, but the time we took to chat with him was encouraging.

As he walked away I couldn’t help laughing again. A valuable piece of history tucked neatly away inside underwear packaging and French fry boxes. You can’t find a better metaphor than that.

On the outside, our homeless friends and neighbors, like Jay, look like trash. They look worthless. And some of them have started to believe that lie about themselves.

But the truth is, just like that book Jay found, they are hidden treasures. They are valuable, not because of the packaging they come in, but because of “the content of their character” as Martin Luther King Jr once said.

Jay is a father trying to keep his little daughter’s world from falling apart. As far as she knows, her and daddy are just staying in hotels a lot right now. But that can’t last forever.

That’s why we’re here. Although Jay and his daughter can’t stay at the Lawrence Street Shelter, they know they can get a warm meal if they need it. And Jay is on the waiting list for our STAR transitional program, where he and his daughter can get back on their feet again. I look forward to seeing them across the street at The Crossing someday soon.

But in the meantime, I pray each night for this man with a treasure hidden in his backpack. I pray that they stay warm and dry each night. And I pray that God would watch over them. They are His children, just like the rest of us—a treasure hidden under filthy rags.