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Burnside Shelter

Executive Director Eric Bauer: Why Don’t They Help Themselves?


Drive by the west end of the Burnside Bridge any morning and evening, and you’ll likely see hundreds of men and women lined up to get a good hot meal at the Mission. For me, that sight is full of heartbreak and hope. I grieve to see so many people suffering in desperate situations. Yet I’m so grateful for thousands of caring partners whose donations provide hospitality, warmth and relentless compassion to the hurting people we serve.

This crossroad of pain and provision is where God shows up to work miracles.

It’s easy to look at that long line of hungry people and think, “Why don’t they get help? Do they want to be homeless? Why don’t they just get a job?” I confess, it’s what I would have thought many years ago before I started rescue mission work.

People like Don, whose story is featured in this newsletter, long for a way out. It’s not just the lack of a mailing address, phone, shower, clean clothing or good references that hold them back. It’s also the exhaustion, mental fog, debilitating addiction, and crushing heartache of humiliation, isolation, shame, guilt and grief. Don had fallen so far, he scarcely believed he could get another chance at life. Don needed compassionate engagement by caring people to get him to life-transforming care.

That compassion came in the form of a meal. A hot plate of delicious food became the crossroads where the course of Don’s life changed. Then a smile from a volunteer. A focused conversation with a staff member offering recovery. A counselor and mentor to listen well and speak truth with love. An encounter with God to experience forgiveness and restoration.

When broken people feel too overcome to help themselves, your compassionate gift provides meals, shelter, dignity, care – and hope for a better life.

Thank you for caring,
eric-bauer-signatureEric Bauer

Executive Director


P.S. Thanksgiving is coming soon! Help us stock our shelves to serve more than 30,000 meals next month to hungry men, women and children. The meal you provide could begin the transformation of someone’s life.

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