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As a member of our Circle of Friends, you choose the amount of support you want to give each month, and it will be automatically deducted from your bank account or card. You’ll hear from us four times a year (which is less mail than most donors) and, in the process, help us save on postage and printing. You will receive a statement of your giving along with our latest Rescue Portland newsletter, which would have included our fall newsletter featuring Lazara’s amazing story.
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Each year, at the Burnside Shelter, we serve over 330,000 nutritious meals and offer over 80,000 safe nights of shelter, as well as other vital services as part of our Hope Ministries and Pathway Ministries. This includes our Connect Ministry, which is a three month program that transitions the homeless off the streets and into permanent housing and stable employment. Our New Life Ministries located at The Harbor (men) and Shepherd’s Door (women and children), in northeast Portland, are designed to serve individuals looking to break free from addiction.
Our Circle of Friends provide vital monthly support to keep these ministries running strong each day. They also help support stories like these …
Back when Kat started caring for the garden, she felt like she didn’t know what she was doing, “So it caused me to be more intentional about the job I was doing and wanting to be well informed,” she said. “This has been my first garden that I’ve done.” She is also thankful she hasn’t had to do it alone for a house filled with women and children.
“I feel a strong sense of responsibly out here,” she said. “One of the things that I have struggled with the most in regards to my addiction, is not wanting to be engaged in my own life.”
Working in the garden has helped changed that, causing her to grow in responsibility.
Worse than the hunger was Gary’s overwhelming hopelessness. A heartbreaking childhood marked by his parents’ divorce left him trapped in constant verbal and physical abuse by his mother. Foster homes only led to more abuse, profound loneliness and a complete lack of self-worth.
“I never had an example of love,” says Gary. “It’s taken me a long time to realize that I’m not worthless.”
When Gary found Portland Rescue Mission in January, he realized this place was different. It was special. He first came for meals, a shower and some clothes. Then he learned about our 3-month Connect Ministry that helps men and women transition quickly from homelessness to area housing and employment. Connect was just the lifeline Gary needed.
Julie explained how, before coming to Shepherd’s Door, she was consumed with anger and vengeance. Her life had been one filled with one bad memory after another — a living nightmare. After attempting suicide four times, she had nothing left and nowhere else to go.
But then she had a conversation with Christine Ourada, Director of the New Life Ministry for Women and Children at Shepherd’s Door. Julie’s heart started to drink from the grace she thirsted for so long before.
She finally discovered something her soul lacked for so long. Julie gained a sense of belonging, and an extended family that loves her regardless of where she came from, or what might be buried in her past.
“My life spun out of control, and I went off the deep end,” Mike explained about his life before Portland Rescue Mission. “I was a mess, and I told God ‘I’m done, just take me.’”
But God had other plans. He wasn’t finished with Mike.
Prior to coming to the men’s New Life Ministry at The Harbor, Mike had never really been homeless, per say. He was a “worker” as he describes. But then, he would come home, drown himself in his addictions, go to sleep and start the cycle over again the next day.
It was a vicious cycle that eventually landed Mike in jail. And it was there that God sent an “angel” in the form of a man named Wallace.
Brianne completely lost grip of her identity. After spending years finding her identity in “how many drugs I could supply,” life looked dreary and completely void of any remnant of hope.
“I was going to give up my children and jump off a freeway,” Brianne told the crowd at Shepherd’s Door. “God moved mountains into my path, and brought me here through a long, difficult set of trials. I praise God for that.”