“We need to ensure that every man, woman, or child who comes to our door has the opportunity to have a safe, clean place to live, enjoy a meal and find transformation.”
Our October newsletter focuses on the impact Gospel Rescue Mission at the Center of Opportunity has had on the community in just a few short months since opening. We also profile some of our staff (including our CFO, Dr. Tony Simms) who make everything we do here possible.
The Good Steward
Tony is our Director of Finance and Operations, but when he’s not in his office, you can find him out on the floor at the Center of Opportunity, making rounds and connecting with the men, women, and children we serve.
“I can count numbers all day long, and I enjoy that, but I know the other part of my ministry here is to understand who we’re working with and the needs that they have. So I’m interacting with people consistently, whether it’s answering questions or just laughing and joking with them. This place is their home, short term, long term; it’s still where they are staying. I want them to know that we care for them.”
It’s easy for Tony to make that connection with our guests. He grew up in Western Hills, a neighborhood that sits right behind Pima County’s Juvenile Court Center. He understands what our
guests are going through because he watched it happen around him growing up.
“My neighborhood was made up of low-income families. There was high crime; it was gang-infested; there were drugs in my neighborhood. I know what that’s like. I’m also very aware that you’re always at a tipping point when you live in those kinds of environments. I’m not far from identifying with some of the challenges that our families here [at Gospel Rescue Mission] are facing, because my own family had some of those challenges.”
Tony offers his skills and expertise here because he recognizes how Gospel Rescue Mission’s heart for the hurting matches his own, and represents a solution for homelessness.
“Where they didn’t have an opportunity before, they now have an opportunity to do the thing that they want to do, which is move up the ladder out of poverty into stability. All that requires is for us to partner with our community, with donors who want to make a contribution, and with volunteers who want to participate. Gospel Rescue Mission simply acts as a nucleus which
people can wrap themselves around, to extend their hand to those who are in need today.”
And there’s never been more need than we are seeing today. When we opened the Women’s Recovery Center, it took six to nine months to fill the 90 new beds available. The first day at the Center of Opportunity, we welcomed in more than 100 new guests, in addition to the 55 who came over from the men’s center.
“The numbers have drastically grown, and the infrastructure has had to adjust rapidly. We have gone from housing 150 men, women, and children to housing nearly 400 men, men with children, women, and women with children. It can be tough at times, because we want to make sure that we squeeze every penny out of every dollar. But in doing so, we can’t neglect those who have come here for service. In order to be good stewards of funds, we need to ensure that every man, woman, or child who comes to our door has the opportunity to have a safe, clean place to stay, enjoy a meal, and find transformation. To achieve that, we have to increase our staff levels to meet the demand. That requires our friends and partners to grow and evolve with us.”
There’s Something you Can Do!
Of course, we always need your prayers on the behalf of those we serve. But the next best thing you can do to help meet the need is to volunteer!
“Social service organizations like GRM are among the larger contributors to the fabric of our community, not simply based on donors but also based on volunteerism. If you calculate it at $20 per hour, times the number of hours contributed from volunteers (24,906 in 2018), the number explodes in terms of the value ($498,120!).”
Simply put, volunteers drastically cut the number of paid staff we need, which allows us to allocate far more resources toward providing meals and programs and services that end homelessness. But no matter how big our hearts are for helping the homeless, we don’t all have the time to volunteer as much as we’d like.
The good news is, there are multiple ways you can financially support the work of the Mission: whether it’s a financial donation, a material donation, a gift of a vehicle or gift from your estate, your retirement account, or more, you’ll find more about it in this month’s issue of Sonrise! God has given us an unprecedented opportunity to reach out and transform lives on a scale we’ve never seen before. God has built it, and they have come – we need your support to meet the overwhelming need, while making sure that every opportunity He gives us to touch a life is handled with the dignity, respect, and love that have been the hallmark of Gospel Rescue Mission outreach for more than 60 years.
Tony is our Director of Finance and Operations, but when he’s not in his office, you can find him out
on the floor at the Center of Opportunity, making rounds and connecting with the men, women, and children we serve.