Working at the Mission, you quickly see God at work in the overwhelming kindness and compassion of our community. This often seems most evident in food services, as they experience that provision every day in the meals they faithfully prepare and deliver to our shelters and public dining room.
An example of this provision happened just a few weeks ago. Monday went on as usual, but on Tuesday and Wednesday, our driver and kitchen supervisor were unable to come to work. On Tuesday, our cook also had an appointment and was not able to arrive for work until after 11 a.m. Our food services director stepped up to help fill the gap, aided by one of our very faithful kitchen prep volunteers.
To help meet the need with limited staff, God provided a meal of Spaghetti and Meatballs from Mayflower Congregational Church on Tuesday, a meal of Scalloped Potatoes with Ham from Plymouth Congregational Church on Wednesday, and a Mediterranean Meal from Woody's Oasis on Thursday. Each dinner, each day was more than enough for both shelters, and we averaged about 120 dinners each night.
At each meal, we do our best to provide salads, fruit, vegetable, dessert, and beverages, in addition to a quality main entree. However, by Tuesday, pastries and desserts were also starting to get low. (Pastries are also used to supplement breakfast for our overnight guests.) Starbucks was unable to open that day, and they chose to put their excess to good use by donating to the Mission. We ended up with 750+ pastries and desserts!
As the director said, "God provided the grace for us to stay on top of kitchen tasks, do pick-ups, and deliver the meal."
What could have been seen as discouraging circumstances, with the staffing shortages, became another encouraging example of compassion in action. Currently, we are seeing higher numbers for services than we have ever experienced. There remains a shortfall in funding for food, especially with increased prices, and we need another van to assist with delivering meals and picking up donations. However, we know that the need will be met, and right on time. Thank you for all you do to help us provide food, shelter, and hope to hundreds every day. Thank you for being a rescuer.
“You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.” Psalms 128:2
Recently, I have had numerous opportunities to work third shift at the women and children’s shelter and the men’s shelter. I am intrigued at the difference in these two shelters and the difference in "busyness." In the evening, it seems that the women and children’s shelter is buzzing 100 miles per hour with the adults and children completing their nightly intake, dinner, clean up, chapel, showers, community chores, and getting ready for bed. However, by 11 p.m., things are pretty quiet and most of the 100+ women and children are in their beds or in their rooms. At this point, the shelter activity has quieted to a whisper. In contrast, at the men’s shelter, there are higher numbers of people working late shifts and “coming home late.” Although the vast majority of men have already attended chapel, eaten dinner, taken a shower, and put their things safely away in their locker by 9 p.m., there are many working men who will be arriving after they have completed their second or third shift.
On average, there are a couple dozen men who come in late after a long day’s work or must be awakened by 5 a.m. to start their next day’s long work. Many of our guests work hard in convenience stores or local restaurants throughout the day or night. They keep your favorite restaurant or convenience store clean and ensure that the products and services are available for customers. I know one lead cook in particular, who is working at a high-end steak restaurant, and he is proud to be mentoring another guest to follow the trade and “to earn an honest living.” Every time he talks about his night, he puts on his marketing hat and tries to lure me to their restaurant. I am thankful that he is proud of his hard work and thankful for his employer. But, also, he is thankful that, “God gave me the ability to work. Besides, if you don’t work…you don’t eat.”
God certainly designed us uniquely to work and find great value and utility in serving in the task that is at hand. It is a common misconception that those who are homeless are lazy. Many are even working two jobs. One guest works at the Delta plant and at a restaurant on the weekends "to help my kids out." His children live with their mother, but he wants to be a supportive father and continue to improve his relationship with them. Although slothfulness does exist in people at the Mission, as it does in society in general, this is not true for the majority of people who appreciate the opportunity to re-establish themselves. As our guest said, the Mission isn’t a “way of life, it is a place of refuge” that points people to our Redeemer and Provider. Thank you for helping so many people with Food, Shelter, and Hope. Thank you for being a rescuer.
To God Be the Glory,
As our executive director mentioned in his “Message from Mark,” there is often an assumption that someone who is homeless is not working. We have many guests who are currently employed, even some working multiple jobs. However, there are often challenges in the path to independence, especially now, with the sharp increase in the cost of living. It is taking significantly longer for someone who is employed or has some form of income to transition out of shelter. Many of those we serve are having a difficult time finding safe, affordable housing. Even if there are apartments available in their income range, some guests have past evictions or outstanding utility invoices that need to be resolved. Others simply have no credit history or are saving for first month rent and deposit. With the waiting time in shelter increased, this creates a “bottleneck,” making it difficult for those becoming homeless to access needed services. While we have stretched to accommodate the immediate need, it would be extremely difficult to support current capacity levels longterm. Thank you for your continued prayers and support during these challenging times.
While we continue to have great needs throughout the Mission, especially overnights at our men’s shelter, we have a number of opportunities at our women and children’s shelter. This would be a great way to minister as a second job or a part time job on weekends. See below for some information on our coordinator role and open shift times. For more information on this and other opportunities, visit BEaRESCUER.org or call 517.485.0145.
Coordinator: Requires working nights and weekends. Computer and phone skills needed. Anticipate walking and standing for long periods of time including light housekeeping chores. The coordinator will assist with guest check-ins and new intakes. Coordinators must be able and willing to pray with guests and teach children’s chapel when necessary. The coordinator is also responsible for overseeing volunteers.
Current Openings: Saturday and Sunday from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. (dayroom supervisor and security office) and weekend floor shifts from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. or 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Family Size: 12 Servings
1 (16 oz) container Sour Cream
1 (16 oz) jar Salsa
1 (10.5 oz) can condensed Cream of Chicken
1 (8 oz) can Black Beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup diced Onion
6 (12 inch) flour Tortillas, cut into strips
6 skinless, boneless Chicken breast halves, cooked and shredded
4 cups shredded Cheddar Cheese
Mission Size: 156 Servings
13 (16 oz) containers Sour Cream
13 (16 oz) jars Salsa
13 (10.5 oz) cans condensed Cream of Chicken
13 (8 oz) cans Black Beans, drained
3 1/4 cups diced Onion
78 (12 inch) flour Tortillas, cut into strips
78 skinless, boneless Chicken breast halves, cooked and shredded
52 cups shredded Cheddar Cheese
Directions: Preheat the oven to 350° F. Mix Sour Cream, Salsa, Condensed Soup, Beans, and Onion in a large bowl. Layer the bottom of a 9x13-inch baking dish with one third of the Tortilla Strips. Top with one third of the Chicken, one third of the Sour Cream mixture, and one third of the Cheddar Cheese. Repeat layering with remaining ingredients. Bake in the preheated oven until golden and bubbly, 20 to 30 minutes. Let stand about 10 minutes.