As we enter a new year, we also begin the coldest months in the Pacific Northwest. For many of our neighbors without homes, finding warm shelter becomes their top priority every day. The risk of hypothermia and frostbite are substantially higher for houseless communities, and these preventable conditions can quickly turn fatal if our communities do not step up to act. For this reason, we are so grateful for the many rescue missions that offer life-saving emergency services in these winter months.
Each of these rescue missions shares a commitment to address the vicious cycle of houselessness in our cities. They meet urgent needs of guests so that eventually, long-term solutions can be reached. And these nonprofits do it motivated by their faith, compelled by a belief in the dignity of every human.
- “A meal, a bed, a soul well fed.” That’s the motto for Anchorage Rescue Mission, a shelter operating in one of the coldest cities in our region, where temperatures dip far below freezing most winter nights. It is the only shelter in Anchorage where houseless guests in recovery can self-select an environment that fosters their wellbeing.
- In Washington, Tacoma Rescue Mission has been serving the hurting and houseless for 100 years, since 1912. In the last year, this shelter provided over 200,000 meals, helped nearly 2,800 individuals, saw more than 80 families and individuals find stable housing, and helped more than 100 men and women secure stable jobs or increased income.
- Just a few hours south, the Portland Rescue Mission provides emergency relief for downtown Portland’s houseless population through meals, shelter, donated goods, and 24 hour access to bathrooms. For each guest served, the hope is that they will find long-term stability, often through one of the Mission’s recovery programs. The Mission is 100% community funded, with more than 1,500 volunteers and over 370 tons of food donated annually.
- For those in Boise, Nampa, and Southwest Idaho, Boise Rescue Mission offers shelter and programs to help those experiencing houselessness become productive, self-sufficient members of the community. It is the largest nonprofit in Idaho providing services to those without homes.
- Finally, Montana Rescue Mission is helping end the cyclical nature of homelessness in Billings through emergency services and long-term programs. It offers a three-fold approach – Rescue, Recovery, and Restoration – that seeks to address mental, physical, and spiritual needs of guests.
Each of these rescue missions demonstrate the value of faith-based organizations for the flourishing of any community – something our benefactor, Jack Murdock, believed in strongly. The Murdock Trust is grateful to these organizations, and so many others, for acting on their faith-based convictions to serve some of the most vulnerable in our region.
Find a rescue mission near you and consider donating cold weather items such as blankets, hats, gloves, and coats, to help our houseless neighbors get through these winter months.