Mr. Ray Chastain, who was a yardmaster for the Southern Pacific Railroad, saw a never-ending stream of homeless men riding the rails in and out of Tucson. To express Christian charity, Ray and other caring and concerned Christian's in Tucson prayerfully founded Gospel Rescue Mission in 1953.
Located in a storefront building in downtown Tucson next to the railroad yard, the Mission began providing meals, clothing, shelter, and a Gospel message 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
In 1990, law enforcement personnel began bringing women and their children to the men’s shelter during the night. These women are often in an abusive relationship or violent situation. With no alternative family or community resources, they came knocking at our door. Not wanting to turn these women away, we began providing safe and secure shelter at the men’s facility.
Seeing the need to expand our outreach to this fastest growing segment of the homeless population, Gospel Rescue Mission opened a Women and Women with Children’s Shelter in 1992.
Many more needs still unmet...
While providing emergency shelter, food, and clothing are critical services, we realized that there were many more unmet needs in the homeless population. In the mid 1990’s we implemented Residential Long-term Addictions Recovery, Discipleship, and Education Programs to meet these needs.
Outreach Ministries to the Community Started...
Community Ministries - was developed to meet the needs of the homeless, poor and needy of Tucson. Community Ministries is the umbrella ministry for Community Outreach, Neighborhood Outreach, the Distribution Center, Food Boxes, and the Good Shepherd Project.
Community Outreach - is reaching out into the community in many different ways.
A Thanksgiving Street Banquet and a Christmas Street Banquet provide meals to the homeless, poor and needy. The Mission serves between 1,300 to 2,500 traditional holiday meals at each banquet.
Music and testimonies present the Gospel message while guests enjoy their hot meals. Activities for children create a festive and enjoyable atmosphere for all.
Two hundred to three hundred volunteers are utilized to prepare and serve the meals. Christmas gifts are provided to children at the Christmas Banquet.
Neighborhood Outreach - is improving lives of indigent or elderly shut-ins neighbors of the Mission in South Tucson by improving their homes. Neighborhood Outreach will beautify homes by painting the exterior and providing front yard landscaping. This is done free of charge to the residents.
The Distribution Center - is used to receive, store, sort and distribute your donated items. Everyone who receives help from Community Ministries is screened before receiving help. Case Management is provided to the families receiving help to provide for their immediate and ongoing needs. As a means of instilling "community and service", men from the Men's Center serve in the Distribution Center.
The Mission provides two trucks to pickup donations and in-kind gifts. All donations of clothing, household items and appliances given to the Gospel Rescue Mission by the community are distributed free to those who have needs.
Food Boxes - were developed to meet the needs of local residents who are not homeless, but who have limited financial resources to provide for their families. Food Boxes are distributed free to those who have a need and contain approximately three meals.. The Mission is averaging 50 to 80 food boxes each week.
Good Shepherd Project - is the arm of Community Ministries that reaches out into the community to the poor, needy and homeless.
Every Saturday morning two large trailers leave the Gospel Rescue Mission. The Red Trailer is loaded with food to be served to anyone that shows up and wants to eat. The White Trailer is loaded with clothing and essentials helping anyone with immediate needs. No one is turned away.
The Good Shepherd Project feeds and provides clothes for 300 to 400 per week. Because of this great need hundreds of volunteers come and help in meeting the needs of the poor and homeless.
Volunteer Partners - are essential to help accomplish the task of Gospel Rescue Mission. Depending on your skills, the Mission offers various ways for both individuals and groups to volunteer.
Hundreds of people enjoy the experience of helping others and putting smiles on the faces of those in need by volunteering their time and talents at the Men's Shelter, the Women and Children's Shelter and our various Community Ministries. It takes hundreds of volunteer partners with a large variety of skills and talents to keep the Gospel Rescue Mission operating. We depend on the unique gifting that God has given each of His children to bring balance to the Mission.
Community Relations - bridges the gap between the mission and the community at large.
Tours of the Gospel Rescue Mission's Ministries are conducted on a regular basis. Donors, ministry groups, churches, civic organizations, pastors, individuals and families are invited to "come and see" what is happening. See about scheduling a tour.
Community Relations provides speakers to churches, civic clubs and other organizations wanting a presentation about the mission and also will provide a manned display booth for missions conferences.
CR also schedules guest pastors to fill in when needed and also works with churches to help meet the immediate and ongoing needs of their congregations.
Looking to the Future...
As we look to the future, we are planning to:
- Expand our transitional housing program
- Continue casework management for our homeless men and women so that we can provide the best possible care for our quests that the Lord sends to our doors.
- Offer better medical care options
- Look into more extensive job skills training
- and of course provide our services to a much greater number of deserving needing people.
But we have a problem; we are literally bursting at the seams. Our current facilities are just not large enough to serve the ever-growing population of homeless and needy people.
Please pray that the Lord will direct us to just the right property to expand his work.