“It’s painful to sleep outside,” Mike said as he ate breakfast at the Burnside Shelter. “Especially if you have a family.”
At the time of the conversation, Mike had recently woke up from sleeping under the roof of Portland Rescue Mission, and was grateful to not be so “scatterbrained and uncomfortable” as he would have been had he slept on the streets.
Before coming to the Mission that night, Mike had been struggling to find anywhere he could lay his head down. He had walked all across the city, hoping to stumble upon a dry patch of grass, or really anything that would be more comfortable than the sidewalk. Unfortunately, most the places he did find either weren’t very safe or simply not very clean.
“It’s not a place where you want to be,” he explained. “And it is really hard to come out of that place.”
Thankfully, Mike was able to make his way over to the Mission for reprieve. And for at least one night, the world seemed right again. Mike basked in the very feelings he had searched so long and hard for.
“They really help people here. I always have a good experience. You always feel so safe when you sleep here,” he said. “These mats make an incredible difference.”
Mats that you helped provide.
For someone like Darnell, another guest that stayed the night at the Mission, a warm and restful night’s sleep meant another night in which he didn’t have to endure another seizure.
“I hate having seizures. I got so cold and uncomfortable. I have stress, and my family gets concerned,” he said.
Prior to coming to the Mission, Darnell mentioned several recent experiences he had with seizures, including one that resulted in an extensive medical procedure to get it to stop. He explained that his seizures are often brought on by substantial stress, and can come on rather unexpectedly.
“When I sleep here, it feels good knowing I don’t have to worry about anything,” Darnell said. “I’m 61 years old … so I thank God for the Mission because when I’m warm and safe here, I’m less likely to have a seizure.
“I am able to take my medicine, I can take a shower and I can stay away from the dangers of the streets.”
As we opened up our winter shelter this weekend, it’s through the amazingly generous financial support you provide daily that makes stories like Mike and Darnell’s possible. Project Sleep Safe was a prime example of your generosity in action as it allowed for us to purchase 90 brand new, clean and comfortable mats for our guests.
Between now and the end of March, we’ll be able to provide beds for upwards of around 150 men each and every night. If and when the temperature drops below 35 degrees this winter, 10 more mats will also be added to our lobby which is already open 24 hours a day for bathrooms, hygiene needs, fellowship and more.
Thanks again for leading the way in helping us give hope and restore life to men, women and children suffering from homelessness and addiction. Check out a couple of personal thank you messages from two of our key outreach staff members at the Burnside Shelter.
MORE IN THE NEWS ABOUT WINTER SHELTER AT PORTLAND RESCUE MISSION:
ANDREW HALL (Guest Care Specialist)
JUSTIN SPAHN (Burnside Volunteer Support/Evening Outreach).