Thursday, March 16, 2017

Rescue Mission: Services You Might Not Know About Part 1 of 2

I recently had the opportunity to meet some of the fine folks over at the Roanoke Valley Rescue Mission.

Most people here in the Roanoke Valley might know the mission as a place where homeless can get a hot meal and a place to sleep at night and while that's true, there's more to the Rescue Mission here in Roanoke, a lot more.

One of the first things I learned about the Rescue Mission is that people that use their facilities are not allowed to panhandle. If they by chance have someone that does, they could lose the missions services and let me tell you there are many!

So the common notion that homeless people are panhandling in Roanoke simply isn't true. Homelessness and panhandling do not direct co-inside in the Roanoke Valley.

Today, I wanted to share with you some of the awesome things the mission does BEYOND the basics.

Starting with the obvious, yes, the Christian based facility does offer 3 meals a day and they have bed for many people that are homeless or in need of a place to sleep. They offer three facilities, one for men, one for women and one for families. But that's just the tip of the iceberg here, the mission does far more than just offer immediate food and shelter.

A common misunderstood thought about homeless is that they are all bums. Actually many have families and jobs just like you and me, they simply have financial issues that have left them without a place to live. While there are also some that have mental health issues, others might have drug or alcohol issues, but the mission offers programs to help combat those problems and get people back on track. Let me share the first one that came to mind.

Manna Mission Program

One of the great things that the Rescue Mission does is their Manna Mission Program.

What is this exactly?

Manna is a weekly grocery box distribution program serving struggling families in the Roanoke region. Once enrolled, you may come to the Mission one Saturday morning each month to pick up a box, each containing 40-50 pounds of non-perishable food staples along with fresh produce and frozen meats. Dog and cat food is even available for the pets in the family. When you signup for the program they require you to participate in a free financial management classes are offered on-site by volunteers from SunTrust Bank.

Food For Thought

This is where those panhandler dollars you give out can make a difference. Every dollar that you give to the Rescue Mission can create approximately 22 meals for an individual at just 4.5 cents each. Talk about impressive! Giving $5 to a panhandler could have helped feed roughly 111 people by comparison.

Job Services

This is something that the Rescue Mission helps with and it's NOT just looking for a job either. They have classes to help people prepare for job interviews, learn how to become more socially accepting within the workforce and much more.

While they offer laundry services for clothing they also have a voucher program that allows each person to buy clothes in order to go to a job interview at their 460 and Williamson Rd stores.

Additionally, they have a hair salon run by volunteer hair stylists, showers, computers for resumes and filling out job applications as well as case workers that help guide them to finding work and becoming employed part or full time. Everything they need in order to get a job is right at their fingertips!

Short Term and Long Term Programs

There are recovery programs for people that use the missions services too. These include both drug and alcohol programs called the RRP (Residential Recovery Program) plus they have an Adult Education Center call Mending Wings. There students can get individualized learning plans to help with basic educational skills like reading, writing and math. You can even work on getting your GED and further enhance yourself through classes at WVCC.

The Residential Recovery Program is for men and women seeking to break free of the bondage of drug and alcohol addiction. Through coaching, spiritual guidance, and education, the program provides participants the tools they need to move from a life of self-abuse and destruction to a life lived in recovery, punctuated by grace.

The program consists of four phases, each involving a variety of classes, on-site community service assignments, church participation, and step-work with a sponsor in local 12-step programs. Phase 4 involves a job search and obtaining permanent housing, and concludes with a commencement event.

You can even get your art skills on with taking an artistic pottery class. The Pottery class helps
students experience a practical application of the life lessons they are learning in their other recovery classes. The clay becomes the teacher, allowing students to explore alternatives to anger management, learning when to let go and when to persevere, what it means to be centered and re-centered, and how it feels to be successful as they create a work of art. The clay is a humble teacher, helping us appreciate the relationship between God and ourselves and what it means to be molded by God’s hands.

The Metal Arts class allows participants to employ fine motor skills while exercising their minds to design and create original pieces of jewelry such as rings, bracelets, and necklaces. Students learn that each has the ability to be creative when they are willing to take the risk, and they’re given the opportunity to appreciate and celebrate their efforts.
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