First off, we wanted to thank everyone for helping us reach another milestone of being able to donate 456 total pairs of underwear to the Phoenix Rescue Mission! Our team made our way to the intake warehouse on June 11th and brought along some other much-needed supplies such as diapers, water, and other hygiene products for the women's shelter. Tom and his team were diligent on getting the truck loaded to bring donations to the shelters when we arrived so the underwear got handed out right away to the men staying at the Transforming Lives Center.
After our trip to the warehouse, we caught up with Catie Hammann, Phoenix Rescue Mission's Gift-in-Kind & Acquisition Supervisor. We talked a bit about the progress the shelters are having along with the programs for those staying at the campus and how donations get distributed.
1. How do you reach people in need? What is your process in identifying people who need shelter, and are they always happy to accept help?
A team goes out and does street outreach by connecting with people that are homeless and providing water along with hygiene products. Typically a person may be homeless due to addiction, domestic violence, or experiencing other trauma. We reach out and let the individual stay at the shelter to see if the program will be a fit, and sometimes that is not the case so we will recommend other organizations to help further.
Through the Bridge program, men can choose to go straight to Phoenix Rescue Mission rather than going back to families or friends after jail to jump-start their lives. Programs can range from two months to two years for recovery while living on campus. There is a high success rate for those completing the programs. Once the alumni have graduated we continue to have aftercare by checking in and continuing to have partnerships.
2. How many shelters do you have? How many people can you shelter?
There is a men's and women's shelter. The Changing Lives Center for women can have 120 women and children staying at the shelter a time. Single women bunk together with 2 or 3 women living in one space together. Women with children have their own cottages containing their own kitchens and bathrooms. Currently, we have 30 children from the ages of newborn to twelve years old living with their mothers at the campus.
The men's shelter is coming close to having it's own cottages/apartment-style living space that will be complete in February with four new buildings to be able to house close to 360 men. Currently, there are 180 men living on campus in a dorm-style set up in one large room with a shared dining space.
3. How do you distribute donations, such as our underwear, to your clientele?
Underwear is a huge need, especially for men! It gets put into inventory and distributed evenly with a certain amount of clothing for each individual at the campus so that the shelters stay tidy and cleanliness is a big factor to keep the men staying at the shelters feeling good about themselves and their surroundings.
4. How has Corona affected your outreach?
It hasn't made things more difficult at the shelter. We already had a RAP program in place that'll take two weeks for the individual to adjust on their own before joining others to see if the place is the right fit. Otherwise, we test our clients prior to entering and getting a temperature reading. For individuals with an addiction, we partner with a detox center prior to having the client enter the campus since we don't have a full staff of medical personnel to treat addiction yet. Otherwise, in the beginning, we had to pause intake at the warehouse, but once we were open more people were able to donate items.
5. Do you find, with so many current important issues, that fundraising for the Mission is more challenging than normal?
We receive privately funded donations and since we are a separate entity without any franchises we tend to partner more with other churches that are willing to lend a hand. We are fortunate to be connected with people that are willing to help and give support to us.
6. How did you get involved in the Mission? Is there anything that you would like our readers to know about the Mission?
I always wanted to do ministry work and when I was younger I had done missions. The Phoenix Rescue Mission was the right fit for me and I have been here for 3 years. I am just thankful for the partnerships we are able to create and continue to have. Being able to have ACE + INDIGO as a partner is a huge blessing. Underwear is something that can get overlooked, but having a fresh pair can really boost the men's confidence at the shelter. And overall knowing that there are people thinking about your wellbeing.
We really appreciate being able to work with Catie and partnering with The Phoenix Rescue Mission to bring every man a fresh pair! Once again thank you so much to everyone who has made a purchase with us and for the continued support.
-ACE + INDIGO