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Burnside Shelter

After losing 30 years of his life, Gary finds ‘home’ at Connect

Gary knows what it’s like to sleep outside. Cold, alone and afraid. He remembers the gnawing pain of hunger so strong that it kept him awake at night.

“I’ve been so hungry. One time it was 3:00 AM and I knocked on somebody’s door begging for food. It was just a piece of bread, but it seemed like the best meal I ever had.”

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.

This place was a blessing for me. It felt somewhat like a home – and I’ve never known a home. I’ve always bounced around. The Connect program gave me stability and accountability. It gave me a foothold to really take a look at my life and get myself together.”

Today, Gary has completed the Connect program and smiles proudly at his accomplishment. He’s so grateful for help finding a place to live. Even better has been the spiritual growth and relational support that have encouraged him through the transition from homelessness to the new life he’s longed for.

I thank God that the Mission’s doors were open. That this place is available like a shelter in a storm to come in and get themselves together. If you want to come in for a meal and a bed, that’s fine. But if you want more to life, it’s here too.”

Gary has an amazing story, and he is just one of hundreds of men and women who have gotten their lives back on track through our programs. God is rebuilding lives – all thanks to you, and a warm meal that first drew them to the Mission.

To help more men, women and children in need break free from shame, despair and isolation — and to provide them a life-giving meal — donate online today! You can also call 503-MISSION (647-7466).