Everything we do at the Mission centers on our commitment to rescue lives from poverty, hunger, homelessness, and substance use disorder. We strive to meet the needs of hurting and broken people while inviting them into the abundant life Christ offers us all. By loving people and meeting their very tangible needs, we hope they will receive it as the gracious love of God toward them and turn to Him seeking rescue from condemnation through the forgiveness of sin – the deepest need of all. “Our God is a God who saves! The Sovereign Lord rescues us from death,” (Psalm 68:20).
Our Rescued Treasures Clothing Program is an important aspect of this ministry to the community. It is truly collaborative, because the community donates clothing items, and the Mission is blessed to pass along what has been freely given. Lydia Hutchinson, for example, donated a large selection of menswear last summer, after her husband’s sudden death. “It means so much to me, and it would to my late husband, too, that these items will help people in some way. Whether they need a shirt to stay warm or to dress up for a job interview, either way these clothes go to help others,” says Lydia. And if donated items are not in reusable condition, the Mission recycles them, which helps to keep literally tons of textiles out of landfills and utilizes each piece of fabric to benefit those in need.
You may have been following the progress of our building renovation project, which began in November of 2019 and was completed in October of 2020. The building housing Rescued Treasures received a new roof, a fresh coat of paint, an electrical system update, and new shelving and clothing racks. These repairs and upgrades help our guests to have a safe, enjoyable, and efficient shopping experience. Local businesses such as P.J.’s Roofing, Kingdom Electric, American Disposal Systems, and Sherwin Williams made it all possible.
But during the months when the building was closed, Ministry Coordinator Meg Yoho was working hard on a renovation project of the program itself. “Rescued Treasures exists to provide clothing, shoes, coats, blankets, and other basic necessities to those in desperate need,” says Meg. “But there is a greater need – a need for peace of soul through reconciliation with God.” Meg and the Mission leadership thought deeply about how this program could minister more effectively to both the bodies and the souls of our guests.
In order to have more time with each guest one-on-one, Meg replaced the “grab-and-go” arrangement with an appointment system. Appointments are made via our website (therescuemission.org/programs/rescued-treasures-clothing-program) on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays in 15-minute increments. Because the time is set aside specifically for each guest, Mission staff have an opportunity to get to know each person and perhaps pray with them for a specific need. There is also a prayer request section on the item request forms, which guests can fill out if they are unable to come during appointment hours. Mission staff prays specifically for each request.
Because we know that the need for some items, such as coats, hats, scarves, and gloves, does not occur within appointment hours, we often leave a rack of warm coats and bins full of other items outside of the Rescued Treasures building. Early one morning when she arrived at work, Outreach Coordinator Teri Kwiatek saw a gentleman searching the coat rack and she went to speak with him. “He asked if he could take a couple coats for himself and his family, and he was delighted when I said, ‘Of course!’” says Teri. “I love that our community donates coats to those in need.”
The Rescued Treasures Clothing Program “rescues” clothing so that it may be used for another valuable purpose. It is also a little cameo of grace, displaying the love of our merciful God “who has rescued us from the kingdom of darkness and transferred us into the Kingdom of his dear Son,” (Col. 1:13). Compelled by gratitude and love, we work each day to meet the needs of our neighbors while seeking to “proclaim the excellencies of Him who called [us] out of darkness into His marvelous light,” (1 Ptr. 2:9). And this is how we hope to change lives now and for eternity.