Where Food, Shelter, Faith Offer Hope
“Homelessness is rarely a choice,” says Mark Criss, Executive Director of Lansing’s City Rescue Mission. Unforeseen circumstances account for 80-85% of the homeless in the greater Lansing area. The other 15% of homeless individuals may mistrust those trying to help them. There are many reasons for refusing help, and we do not judge these individuals.
“We welcome everyone, and we tell them our mission of providing evidence of Christ’s love for all comes first, before food and shelter. We require chapel attendance for those that come to us for food and shelter, and do not charge for those services.”
Founded in 1911, The City Rescue Mission is a 501 (c) (3) organization that is the oldest local homeless shelter. The City Rescue Mission has made many long-term community connections to assist with its services. The greater Lansing community and a few grants fund all shelter services.
2015: 104,118 Meals and 55,299 Shelter Nights
The City Rescue Mission, in both locations last year served 104,118 meals, with food donated from citizens, community and corporate allies. Shelter nights at both locations were 55,299 nights. The men’s shelter can house 100 individuals; the women’s shelter, 100, including children.
For those that need a variety of services to become independent and self-sustaining, the City Rescue Mission offers extended-stay programs. Those guests are assigned a case manager to help them with their path to self-sufficiency. Extended-stay guests are asked to volunteer at the shelter – a means to boost self-confidence.
“About 80% of guests who are homeless are able to transition to independence ‘on their own’ with food and shelter needs met, while they look for work and housing,” says Criss.
Both shelters have computer stations for completing on-line job applications, and the women’s shelter works with Advent House to offer GED classes to guests. The federal government provides trac phones, so interview requests come directly to guests.
Volunteers Make The Difference
Trained volunteers donate time and talents for Mission operations – from serving food to guests, collecting non-perishable and personal needs items, and assisting with child care at the women’s shelter. The Mission itself has only 70 employees – 30 full-time and 40 part-time. Only 5% of their budget goes to administration. Volunteers also help at the thrift store at 3700 W. Saginaw. Mission needs are listed at www.BEaRESCUER.com and here.
“Ann” was highly-educated and had worked in education when poor health and other circumstances led to her homelessness. Estranged from her family, she had nowhere to go…except the Mission. At first, she was sad and bitter, but the love of staff and the message of Hope began to affect her heart. She saw herself, her situation, and her circumstances in a different light.
Her homelessness became merely a step in a journey that led her toward reconciliation with her Redeemer. She found work and eventually re-established relationships with her family. Today, she is a proud and happy grandmother, who is involved in a local church, has a community of friends, and helps care for her grandchildren. She continues to serve at the Mission and encourages other women that there is Hope even through homelessness.
Your donations provide food, shelter, and hope to hundreds of men, women, and children in Michigan’s capital area!
Fresh food items: Produce (fruit and veg) salad Mix shredded Cheese Ground beef
Non-Perishable food items: Canned vegetables (#10 Can) Canned fruit (#10 Can) Creamer and sugar
Sauces and Condiments Mayo
Hot Sauce Salad dressing (Gallons) Cereal
Please note: we cannot utilize dented cans, expired or opened items. If donating “Fresh Items” please bring directly to the Mission and do not allow “cold” items to get to room temperature.
Colored Sheets, Size Twin X Long
Liquid Laundry Detergent
12 oz Styrofoam Plates, 9” and 6”
Twin Blade Razors
Deodorant and Lotion
Shampoo and Conditioner (full size bottles)
Combs and Brushes
Diapers, Baby Wipes
Men’s Undershirts Slippers Flip-Flops