Have your Youth Group lead a week of camp at Jubilee Acres this summer to provide a day camp experience for homeless children.
As a church family, run or walk in the Drumstick Dash this Thanksgiving morning.
Remember to pray for all those who reside at the Mission in worship each Sunday.
Challenge the Youth Group at your church to fill your study with toilet paper.
Place a grocery cart in the foyer of your church and when it is time to place the offering move it to the front of the church to collect items from the Mission’s Wish List.
Have a large soup pot at the church on “Souper” Bowl Sunday to take up a special collection for the Mission kitchen on Super Bowl Sunday.
Preach at least once a year about local missions and include the Rescue Mission.
Collect pocket size Bibles to give to give to our guests in shelter.
Write a letter of encouragement to a person in shelter, talk about it from the pulpit and encourage others in the congregation to do it too.
Come stay with us for the night. Spend the night in emergency shelter at the Mission & endow a shelter bed for the year ($5 a night/$1,825) as part of My Pastor Slept Here.
Have your next group meet at 2nd Helpings.
Have an event at the church to benefit the Mission. Examples include:
Use a Mission Kroger Card to purchase groceries, gas or medications and Kroger will make a gift of 5% of your purchases to the Mission.
Preach in the Mission Chapel. Assignments are available quarterly.
Have a church small group volunteer for our Bless My Sole foot washing ministry (3rd Thursday night of the month).
Page Under Construction
Our Commitment to Privacy
Your privacy is important to us. To better protect your privacy we provide this notice explaining our online information practices and the choices you can make about the way your information is collected and used. To make this notice easy to find, we make it available on our homepage and at every point where personally identifiable information may be requested.
The Information We Collect
This notice applies to all information collected or submitted on The Rescue Mission of Roanoke website. On some pages make requests, and register to receive materials. The types of personal information collected at these pages are:
On some pages, you can submit information about other people. For example, if you donate a gift online and want a note sent directly to the recipient, you will need to submit the recipient’s address. In this circumstance, the types of personal information collected are:
The Way We Use Information
We use the information you provide about yourself when making a donation only to complete that request. We do not share this information with outside parties except to the extent necessary to complete that request.
We use the information you provide about someone else when making a donation only to send a note indicating a donation has been made in that person’s honor or memory. We do not share this information with outside parties except to the extent necessary to complete that request. We use return email addresses to answer the email we receive. Such addresses are not used for any other purpose and are not shared with outside parties.
You can register with our website if you would like to receive updates on volunteer needs, events, etc. Information you submit on our website will not be used for this purpose unless you fill out the registration form.
Finally, we never use or share the personally identifiable information provided to us online in ways unrelated to the ones described above without also providing you an opportunity to opt-out or otherwise prohibit such unrelated uses.
Our Commitment to Data Security
To prevent unauthorized access, maintain data accuracy, and ensure the correct use of information, we have put in place appropriate physical, electronic, and managerial procedures to safeguard and secure the information we collect online.
Our Commitment to Children’s Privacy
Protecting the privacy of the very young is especially important. For that reason, we never collect or maintain information at our website from those we actually know are under 13, and no part of our website is structured to attract anyone under 13.
How You Can Access or Correct Your Information
You can access all your personally identifiable information that we collect online and maintain by [description of the company access procedure]. We use this procedure to better safeguard your information.
You can correct factual errors in your personally identifiable information by sending us a request that credibly shows error.
To protect your privacy and security, we will also take reasonable steps to verify your identity before granting access or making corrections.
How to Contact Us
In times like these… aren’t you glad there is a Rescue Mission?
The Rescue Mission is “the church in overalls.”
Before it is over, someone you love will need the Rescue Mission. It may be a son or daughter, a favorite niece or brother. It may be a neighbor or your best friend. It may even be you.
Since 1948, the Rescue Mission has continued a tradition of comprehensive care to those in crisis. The Rescue Mission is a Christ-centered, grassroots organization offering programs to help people physically, psychologically, socially and spiritually.
The programs are holistic and involve the elements of personal responsibility, self-determination and an internal transformation of values and vision resulting in a restoration of self-respect. The homeless, the hungry, the sick, the addicted, the abused and the hopeless have all found a warm welcome at the Rescue Mission. Men, women and children have found a safe place and compassionate friends in their darkest moments.
Helping hurting people in Jesus’ name
Help Homeless Men Women and Children at the Rescue Mission
Winter coats of all shapes and sizes are needed now!
The Rescue Mission is collecting new or gently used coats as part of their “Happy COATS-Giving” coat distribution program to make sure all homeless families are prepared for winter weather.
Your “repurposed” coats will go directly to the hundreds of men, women, and children staying in Mission shelters each night.
With predictions for winter temperatures to be colder this year, we want ALL our guests to be prepared. Our hope is each guest has their own coat before Thanksgiving.
It’s never been easier to make a difference in your community. Here is your opportunity to make sure that nobody goes without a coat this winter.
Coat donations can be dropped off at the Rescue Mission’s Thrift Store donation center, located at 421 4th St. SE Roanoke, VA 24013, from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm, Monday-Thursday & Saturday, Friday from 9:00 am – 3:45 pm.
Be sure to wish the staff a “Happy COATS-giving” and they will know to send your donation to those seeking shelter in the Mission’s homeless shelters.
Christmas Care Gifts 2012
Rescue Mission Shelter Bedtime Gift
Twin Size Sheet Set, Bath Towel & Washcloth
Child/Teen Shelter Guest Gift
Underwear, Socks, Pajamas in larger child and teen sizes
Adult Shelter Guest Gift (Man or Woman)
Hat or Headband, 2 Pairs of Heavy Socks, Bag of Chocolate Candy Kisses, Chapstick, Small Lotion or Baby Powder, $5 McDonald’s or Hardee’s fast food gift card
Rescue Mission Shelter Toiletries Gift
Deodorant, Toothbrush, Toothpaste, Comb, Lotion, Shampoo, Disposable Razors, Chapstick
Recovery Participant Gift
Bag of Chocolate Candy Kisses, 12-16 oz Bag of Ground Coffee, 12-pack of Hot Chocolate Packets, Compact Umbrella
Please return your unwrapped gift to the Rescue Mission by Friday, December 14. Include and sign your 1st name only on a Christmas card. For “non-shoppers”, monetary gifts towards the Christmas Gifts are appreciated!
Donations are accepted everyday from 7am-9pm in the Main Lobby: 402 4th St, SE Roanoke, VA 24013 & on-line at rescuemission.net (540)-343-7227
CHRISTMAS MORNING IN THE WOMEN AND CHILDREN’S CENTER is exciting and fun, but it goes well beyond that. It is a magical time for the children, some of whom have had very little in their lifetime. Practical gifts that most of us take for granted are very welcomed by people who do not have them.
Here are some guidelines we ask you to follow once you sign up to “adopt” a family.
To help keep things reasonable for you and equitable for the families we ask that you spend no more than $100 per individual.
Include a set of socks, underwear, and pajamas for each individual.
Though bicycles are an exciting and useful gift, we ask that you do not purchase them. The family rooms are too small to store bicycles.
Make sure all gifts are new – not used. All used items are welcome at our Thrift Store.
Wrap the presents. This helps the recipients feel special, as if they are receiving the gifts from a beloved family member or close friend. After wrapping presents, please use the guest’s first name and identification number to identify who the packages are for. Once you have all the presents together, please put them in a black trash bag or other container in order to keep them all together.
*Due dates for 2014 TBA.
A gift to the Rescue Mission in honor or in memory of your mother on this Mother’s Day will provide for the needs of families in crisis today, tomorrow and for many years to come.
is a Wonderful Way to Honor your Father! The Rescue Mission is a legacy of the generations who have appreciated and supported its work. Since 1948, the Rescue Mission has continued a tradition of comprehensive care to those in crisis. The homeless, the hungry, the chemically addicted, the impoverished and the hopeless have all found a welcome here. Men, women and children have found a safe place and compassionate care in their darkest moments. Because the Rescue Mission is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, it is an essential part of this community’s safety net for those in crisis.
A gift to the Rescue Mission in honor or in memory of your father on this Fathers Day will provide for the needs of families in crisis today, tomorrow and for many years to come.
Each day, our two legacy walls welcome men, women and children to the safe haven of the Rescue Mission. These beautiful, handcrafted works of art, created by the father and daughter team of John Reed and Judy Anderson, remind us of God’s grace. In the Women and Children’s Center, the “Mother and Child” mural reminds us that God’s love is unending. The Father and Son mural in the Fralin Chapel reminds us that forgiveness is real. Both murals reminds us that we are a part of a legacy of giving.
On this Father’s Day you can celebrate the life of your father by inscribing his name on a custom crafted wood block that is permanently mounted on one of the Rescue Mission’s two legacy walls.
“In the Know” is your source for Rescue Mission News
Check in often for updates and links to news about Rescue Mission Ministries and Events. Suggest a story idea or request information by contacting 540.777.7657
by Joy Sylvester-Johnson
July is all about the kids at the Mission and the main event is summer camp. This year we have planned eight weeks of Jubilee Acres Day Camp for children who range in age from 4 to 12 years old. At Camp Jubilee we will have one counselor for every two children. Camp Jubilee is the place where, because of the “one on one” investment, traumatized kids, experience the meaning of the phrase “Jesus Loves Me.”
Several other area camps are donating scholarships to kids in the shelter. The Taubman Art Museum has donated a week of day camp for 9 children, and The Science Museum has donated a week of day camp for 2 children.
Some of our children are going to overnight camp as well. Six of our children will be going to the Caroline Furnace Camp for a week, another six will be going to Camp Roanoke, and Camp Tuck-a-way is donating a week of camp for two children. Eleven of our children will be going to Scottie’s Place which is a wilderness camp experience in West Virginia specifically designed to help children who have experienced trauma.
While the children have been hiking, swimming, crafting, learning and playing at camp, we adults back at the Mission have been working hard to prepare for the Back to School Blast. Now I will be the first to admit that not one of our kids has given a thought to school this summer, but we know that September comes right after August and all of our shelter kids will need school supplies in September. That is why we work so hard to be ready for school while the kids are in the midst of summer fun.
Each child will receive a new book bag, pencils, pens, paper and notebooks on the first day of school. We will also make sure they have had their sports physicals and immunizations, and each one will be porting a new back to school haircut! They will also have new shoes and clean clothes when they get on one of the seven school busses that stop at our shelter.
Many of the children in shelter will be going to a new school, so our Minister to Children will be ready with afterschool snacks and a listening ear as they make this adjustment. Listening to the kids while their families are in crisis is one of the most important things we do at the Mission.
Thank you for believing with us that kids are important. Some of the children we have in shelter have been told repeatedly that they are bad or stupid. Some have been neglected and some have been abused. Many of them have been bounced around from family to family and school to school. All of them have lost their homes.
When a family is in crisis it is not the time to overlook or forget about what the child in that family is thinking, dreading or dreaming. The time a family is in shelter can be a traumatic time or one of real healing. At the Mission we want to make sure that each child is cherished and experiences the love of God.
by Joy Sylvester-Johnson
Zucchini. Lots of zucchini. Some big enough to swallow Vinton!
When zucchini begins to arrive by the trunk load, you know its August at the Roanoke Rescue Mission. As a result we have developed quite a few recipes for zucchini. We bake, sauté, boil, steam, roast and fricassee’ it. We’ve even invented “stealth zucchini.” By steaming and dicing it we can hide it in spaghetti sauce, meatloaf, bread pudding, egg casseroles and muffins. You may not see it right away, but zucchini is in there somewhere at meals served in August.
In August we are the happy recipients of the dreams of all those home gardeners who in the dead of winter started perusing seed catalogs. But to get from catalog to table requires more than a dream—it requires work. As a child, I loved planting, but weeding—not so much.
Every successful gardener knows that before the seed can be sown, the ground must be prepared. And then God (the Partner of anyone who ever attempts to grow anything) must send the rain to water and the sun to warm those seeds so they will sprout and eventually mature into a bountiful harvest.
Once upon a time God opened a stall on the Roanoke City Market. When a woman in SW county heard the news she immediately rushed downtown with her shopping list in hand. Arriving in a flurry of activity, she placed her order, “I want one perfect cantaloupe, one perfect tomato, one perfect cabbage and one perfect peach.” God, who was minding the store that day responded, “Lady, I only sell seeds.”
At the Rescue Mission we see the seeds God has already planted in the lives of people. We see the seeds of hope and resiliency when folks have to face disasters and the aftermath of disaster. We see the seeds of curiosity and intellect in the faces of young children in the shelter. We see the seeds of faithfulness and generosity in our donors and volunteers. We see the seeds of perseverance and kindness in our staff. Seeds abound here.
God then sends the rain and the sun, but the weeding—that is our part in the process.
In the 12 step community we call this “taking inventory.” At the end of the day we reflect on where we saw God at work in our lives and where we saw ourselves as obstacles to His grace. These two questions help us to stay in the center of God’s will and to “weed” our lives so that we can grow in grace.
Hope your garden outside and the even more important one inside are both thriving this summer.
We’ve all been there. It’s potluck and just as sure as there will be Mrs. Hancock’s legendary lemon meringue pie, so will there also be the “mystery casserole” that everyone passes by. And you are ready to pass by too, until the person behind you says, “Oh, no one has tried my dish yet…” and so with a swallow and a weak smile, you take a heaping spoonful of the grey stuff and move on toward the dessert section where the person ahead of you is seen taking the last piece of the tart lemon mile high pie you coveted.
In life we do not always get what we want.
Sometimes we even have on our plate something that looks and tastes like a mistake. But if we remember that we are not just at the party for what we will put in our mouths, but for a feast of laughter, tears, memories and dreams shared with those we love – we will know in the deepest way that life is good and that God loves us.
Good becomes better when your husband shares his piece of pie with you. And better becomes best when the author of the awful grey casserole smiles in your direction and stays to talk a bit longer as if you are part of the same sorority.
Feeding hungry people is not just about what is on the plate, although more than 325,000 times this year we will fill the plates of those in line with delicious home cooked food. It is also about the hunger we all have for community and acceptance.
There is room at our table for each one. There is even room for you. Consider becoming a volunteer at the Rescue Mission where we feed hungry people everyday of the year.
by Joy Sylvester-Johnson
A group committed to meeting weekly in 2008 to evaluate the current situation of homelessness in SW Virginia, and to see the conversation concerning the issues of homelessness and its precursor—poverty to be directed toward positive solutions, incorporating ideas, from all stakeholders—including the homeless themselves. It is also the common goal to dispel commonly held myths, misconceptions and idiosyncratic use of data.
Finally it is the goal of this group to encourage regional cooperation in implementing the ideas, initiatives, projects and programs explored.
We all find that celebrating the week’s accomplishments prepares us for the next week ahead.
Rally happens every Friday afternoon at 4pm in the Mission Chapel. At Rally we recognize our accomplishments and count our blessings for the week! Program participants, staff, volunteers, family and friends all gather in the chapel for music, awards, skits, speakers as well as anniversaries, birthdays and graduations. Rally always ends with the singing of Rescue Road, an original song written specifically for Rally by Kim Gembala.
Rally is a great way for every department in the Mission to come together and celebrate what God is doing in the lives of the Recovery Program Participants.
Thank you for your interest in working at the Rescue Mission. There are three ways to submit your application to Uneita Mathews, Human Resources Manager. We accept and encourage your resume as well.
We encourage you to pray and seek God’s will as you look for a place to serve.
Someone from our office will be in touch with you, even if we have no openings in your particular field of interest. We encourage you to pray and seek God’s will as you look for a place to serve. He has a plan and purpose for each of us.
The 2013 Back 2 School Blast is scheduled for Monday, August 12th, 4:30 to 7:30. More information to come!
Highlights of the 2012 Back 2 School Blast:
1,600 low income children we served. A fun day was had by all!
In addition to getting brand new book bags and school supplies:
Please visit the Back2School website: Back 2 School Blast
2012 Organizing Sponsors:
Parkway Wesleyan Church
Roanoke Civic Center
The Salvation Army
Rescue Mission Ministries
Over 15,000 runners, walkers, strollers and dogs participated in the Drumstick Dash on Thanksgiving Day 2013!!
This event has quickly become Roanoke’s biggest family reunion with families coming from all over the United States. Thank you to ALL OF YOU who have shown your support for the Drumstick Dash and all of the ministries at the Rescue Mission. Your participation in the Drumstick Dash provides food, shelter and clothing for the 400-plus men, women and children who seek our services each day.
For more information, stop by or call us at 540.343.7227.
Helps to create an empowering and encouraging environment where broken lives can be mended.
We know art has the power to open our minds to new possibilities. This experience says loud and clear (without words) that someone cares. Art at the Rescue Mission does more than just decorate the walls; art at the Mission helps to create an enriching atmosphere and sends a message to people in crisis that there is hope.
The goal of the Mission’s Permanent Art Collection is to attract and display quality works of art created by local artists that has been judged by a prominent jurist at the Rescue Mission. The Mission is home to most of the region’s homeless population. We anticipate that the sharing of talents will be a blessing not only to the guests, staff and volunteers in the Mission’s shelters, but to the participating artists as well.
Permanent Art Collection 2013 Winners:
Book of Love, Photography by Jennifer Kaufman
Life’s Source, Fused Glass by Larry Mitchell
Steam Train Photography, by Constance Lowery
Serenity, Photography by Kellen Dunnavant
People’s Choice Award
A New Day, Photography by Kellen Dunnavant (Youth Entry)
Since 1948 the Rescue Mission has continued a tradition of comprehensive care to those in crisis.
On the third day of August 1942, Gus Johnson staggered into a Rescue Mission on Chicago’s Skidrow. That event became the pivotal point of his life. A violent, dirty, alcoholic criminal was transformed into a person of integrity, kindness and persevering vision. Having experienced this dramatic lifestyle change, he vowed to dedicate the remainder of his life to rescuing others just like himself.
For more than 62 years the Rescue Mission has continued a tradition of comprehensive care to those in crisis.
The Rescue Mission is a Christ centered organization offering programs to help people physically, psychologically, socially and spiritually. The programs are holistic and involve the elements of personal responsibility, self determination and an internal transformation of values and vision and a restoration of self respect. The homeless, the hungry, the sick, the addicted, the abused and the hopeless have all found a warm welcome at the Rescue Mission. Men, women and children have found a safe place and compassionate friends in their darkest moments.
Because the Rescue Mission is open 24 hours a day, it is the essential part of Southwest Virginia’s safety net for those in crisis. Before it is over, someone you love will need the Rescue Mission. It may be a son or daughter, a favorite niece or brother. It may be a neighbor or your best friend. It may even be you.
Gustaf Adolphus Johnson was the baby of 13 children born to an affluent Swedish family in 1897.
The son of a well-known architect, Gus led a rather sheltered existence amid servants and tutors and a houseful of older brothers and sisters. He was five years old when his mother died. By the age of 10 he had already established a reputation for mischief. When the city offered a bounty for rat’s tails, he followed the city employee to see where the tails were being buried so that he could dig them up and collect the bounty again. Digging was easier than catching live rats, he explained when the officials became suspicious and came to his father to complain about his entrepreneurial activities.
He was bright, but undisciplined. After being expelled from the university, his father urged him to accept a commission in the Swedish Navy. His ship was sent to Russia at a time of great political unrest. Instead of curbing his son’s appetite for adventure, the time in Russia had the opposite effect. His father then “encouraged” his rebellious son to go with a cousin to America. There was an uncle in Iowa with a large farm who might be able to get him to “settle down and make something of himself.”
Gustaf came to America, but did not go to the uncle’s farm in Iowa. He went to New York and then on to Chicago and began running with a “fast crowd.”
He served with distinction in the Marines. He became a naturalized citizen. He was a big man and when he finished his tour of duty it was easy for him to get work as a “strong arm” or “bouncer” in bars and brothels. His desire for more money led him to a brief career of robbing banks and a series of “stick-ups.”
Eventually daily drinking became a regular part of his life, but even criminals need to be sober. In a drunken brawl, he knifed another man and awoke the next day to find himself in jail. The injured man did not die and soon Gus was out and back on the streets.
The next fifteen years he spent in and out of prison, drinking more and more. He was no longer a young man. In his forties, he looked like thousands of others on Skidrow—broken, dirty and all used up.
“There is no honor among thieves.” One night the bottle gang was standing in a huddle. “One by one they looked at my shoes,” he said “Finally, without a word, I went around the corner to sell them in order to buy one more bottle. When I got the bottle of cheap wine in my hands, I didn’t go back to my friends. I went the other way and settled in an alleyway to drink and to forget.”
It was on that same night he went to the Chicago United Mission. A fight broke out and the big Swede was put out of the Mission. Afterwards, unbeknownst to Gus Johnson, one of the Christians asked if those at the Mission would stop the service and pray for the big angry Swede they had to put out of the Mission.
The next night, Gus came back to the Mission. Less violent and more hungry, he hoped they would let him in and give him something to eat. He didn’t listen to the hymns or the testimonies or the sermon. He’d heard it all before. He just wanted it to be over so he could eat and maybe “if he was lucky”, get a bed for the night.
As they played the hymn of invitation, a young seminary student came up to him and said “Jesus loves you.” “Nobody loves me,” said Gus as he pushed the young man away. “Jesus loves you,” repeated the young man as he put his arms around the angry, drunken man. That night Gus Johnson traded in a life of violence and betrayal and booze for a new life of hope and grace and redemption. It was the third day of August, nineteen hundred and forty-two when Gus Johnson became a Christian and everything changed.
The time in the armed services had been hard, doing “time” in Joliet. The maximum security prison had been difficult and life on the street had been rough, but the next two years were the greatest challenge of all. Gus was no longer accepted as a part of the old gang from the street and the Christians were still waiting to see if he would fall back into his old life style. He was very lonely.
Seeing his struggle, the Mission Director’s wife, Mrs. Leonard (Frances) Hunt, invited him to come to their home for lunch. The Hunts had a family that included small children. While she was trying to prepare lunch, Mrs. Hunt asked Gus to hold the baby. When she returned to the dining room a few minutes later she found Gus in tears. Mrs. Hunt did not know what to do. She offered to take the baby from his arms, but with tears running down his face he asked, “Do you think I could ever have a little baby like this one?” he asked. Mrs. Hunt paused for a moment and then gave an unexpected response, “I don’t know what God has in store for you Gus, but let’s just take a moment right now and pray. God wants you to have the desire of your heart. So we will pray that if it’s in God’s will, that one day you will have a little one just like this of your very own and if it is not God’s will that God will change the desire of your heart. “
Gus began to pray specifically for a family. He prayed that if it were God’s will he would be led to someone who could love him and love mission work. He prayed very specifically that God would send him a wife. He added in his prayers that it would be good if she had some musical ability since he had none, that she would be young enough to have children and that it would be all right with him if she were pretty.
One Sunday afternoon, as he finished giving his testimony in the cellblock at Cook County Jail, Gus heard an organ playing. The music was coming from a little pump organ which was being wheeled around the corridors of the jail. At the organ sat a young girl with dark brown hair and a complexion so perfect, that her nickname was “Peachy.” Gus raised his eyes toward heaven and said “Thank You Lord.”
He asked if he might escort her to her home following the jail service. She agreed to ride home on the street car with him. On the way home they talked of many things. Finally, he turned to her and said, “How much money does it cost to get married in America?” She thought it was a strange question, but she answered “At least a thousand dollars.” “I have that much saved,” he said. “Will you marry me?”
She thought he was joking. He assured her he was not.
When they arrived at her apartment building, she invited him in to meet her mother. As he was leaving he asked if he might have the picture of her that was on the coffee table. When she said yes, he asked if she would accompany him downtown the next day to buy a frame for the picture and have lunch at Marshall Fields. Again she agreed.
The next day they rode “The El” down to Chicago’s “Loop” to buy the frame. After buying the frame, they walked along window shopping and talking. He paused in front of the jewelry store and asked her opinion about the diamonds on display. He pointed to one that cost $40. She said it was nice but she liked the one that cost $150 more. He asked if she would like to go in and buy the one she had chosen. She still didn’t really believe this man she had met the day before was serious, but she followed him into the jewelry store. Eight days later (June 6, 1945) they were married.
During the next three years they continued to volunteer at a host of Chicago Rescue Missions and in the jails. They opened a small soda shop and, much to everyone’s surprise, seemed to be very happy.
One day, Lois’s father Fred attended a Christian Businessman’s Luncheon at a downtown hotel. He heard an evangelist speak about the need for more rescue missions. The evangelist specifically made a plea for a place called Roanoke, Virginia, which had a city market area near the railroad station where there were large numbers of homeless men on the street.
Fred Ingersoll had heard enough. He asked the evangelist to write down the name of the town that needed a mission on the back of an envelope. That night the Johnsons and the Ingersolls and some of their Mission friends gathered around the diner table to talk and pray about the establishment of a rescue mission in Roanoke, Virginia.
Within a matter of weeks, arrangements were made for Gus and Lois to go to Roanoke, Virginia, to start a new rescue mission there. All of their friends gave a huge party, held a special prayer meeting for them and put them on a train bound for Roanoke. They arrived in Roanoke, July 1, 1948.
The evangelist had told them that there was a building to house the Mission and they could live in the 7-room apartment on the second floor.
When the Johnson’s got off the train, they went to 111 East Salem Avenue. The building was dark and dirty. The floor was littered with trash and cock roaches scurried along the walls. In a corner of the darkened room they found a fellow under some rags “sleeping off a drunk.”
Gus and Lois were very disappointed. Gus did not want to stay in such a place with his young bride. Lois said they needed to pray about what to do, so the two of them knelt down next to their steamer trunks and asked God for guidance.
When they finished praying, Gus said he was ready to return to Chicago, but Lois said they had to stay. She later confided that she said this not because God had told her to stay, but because her pride would not allow her to return to Chicago as a missionary failure.
They scrubbed and mopped and cleaned up the room and made a bed out of a pallet of quilts. Gus had to nail the door shut because there was no lock on the door. Just as they were about to go to sleep, a police officer broke down the front door.
“Are you the new Madam?” he asked Lois as she sat up from her makeshift bed on the floor.
“No, I’m the new missionary!” she responded.
“Oh, is that what you call yourselves nowadays…” he said with no little skepticism.
Lois and Gus explained who they were and what they had come to Roanoke to do. The officer must have believed them because later that same week, he brought a family to the Mission who needed help.
Gus and Lois opened the Rescue Mission on Salem Avenue on July 2, 1948.
Between 1948 and 1950 the Johnsons, with the help of Dr. Robert A. Lapsley, Jr. of First Presbyterian Church, managed to keep the mission open every night.
In 1950, two years after their July arrival, the Johnsons convened a group of men to become the first “Rescue Mission Board of Directors.” It was at this time that the Rescue Mission became incorporated and received the endorsement of the Roanoke Minister’s Conference under the direction of Dr. Harry Gamble of Calvary Baptist Church.
Gus and Lois were faithful. They stayed at the Salem Avenue location for 14 years. During that time they were the only “staff.” Gus was hired as the Executive Director at a rate of $200 per month and Lois was named Associate Director (sans salary).
When there was not enough money to pay the rent, Gus would take his push lawn mower on the bus and go to South Roanoke, an exclusive section of Roanoke, to mow lawns.
To get items for the supper meal served at the Mission, Lois would take a shopping bag and visit the city market area at the close of business. Farmers who had items that did not sell that day were encouraged to put them into the shopping bags so that they could make the famous Rescue Mission “Enthusiastic Soup” so named because “we put everything we’ve got into it!”
In 1954, Mrs. Eberhardt of the Union Gospel Mission in Washington DC visited the Roanoke Mission to assist Lois with the establishment of a Woman’s Auxiliary and a children’s ministry.
The oldest surviving records list the board members in 1958 as follows: Dr. L.J. Walton (a local dentist was named president), Glenwood Deacon (an architect served as secretary), and Mr. E.J. Harris (a businessman served as treasurer). Other members included Richard Pence (attorney), Mr. E.R. Wooldridge, Mr. Grubbs, Mr. Wm. R. Mayes (engineer), Mr. Wiley N. Jackson (contractor) , Mr. James W. Michael (Michael’s Bakery), Dr. Wade Bryant (pastor of First Baptist Church), Mr. S.L. (Buddy) Fellers (attorney), Mr. Clyde Reynolds, Mr. Howard E. Sigmon (realtor), Mr. Aaron Conner (contractor) and Mr. Glenn Howell.
At the December meeting in 1958 the board voted to purchase the property at 114 East Salem Avenue at a price of $16,500 for a planned Mission expansion. At the next meeting, it is recorded that the building they had purchased had burned to the ground, but they voted to go forward and consider building a new Rescue Mission at that location. The City asked to buy the lot for parking. This lot is where today the Taubman Art Museum now stands.
Property on First Street was purchased and the property on Salem Avenue was eventually sold back to the City for parking in 1962. The first capital campaign was held in 1961 to raise funds to build a new Rescue Mission on First Street. Plans were drawn, funds were raised ($50,000) and J. Walker Contractors were retained to build the building.
Later this property was sold for $20,000 to the City of Roanoke to accommodate a new highway (I-581) and a building at 732 First Street (adjoining the vacant property on First Street) was also purchased at a cost of $9,200. Mr. H.A. Lucas was retained to renovate the building to accommodate the Rescue Mission’s expansion
In 1959 the Johnsons went to an auction held at Natural Bridge. A used truck was purchased at auction for $300.11 (11 cents over the next highest bid!) and home pick-ups were made to bring donated inventory for the two stores the Mission operated on the City Market.
The Rescue Mission got title to and moved into the newly renovated space ($70,000 renovation cost) on First Street in June of 1962. Within months there was discussion at City Hall that the property was needed to accommodate the changes in Elmwood Park and the construction of the roadway leading to Community Hospital.
There is discussion in the minutes of early “case management” activities to assist families in need, a jail ministry and increased activity of the Ladies Auxiliary which had its start in 1958.
By November of 1962, the “Children’s Work” of the mission had grown from one class on Saturdays to four classes during the week. The “Happybag Program” had grown to accommodate hundreds of children at Christmas. Laundry facilities were added to the building (previously laundry had been done by hand in an old bathtub or sent out to a commercial laundry.) A chest freezer was needed to accommodate increased food donations.
In 1963 an addressograph with 1,000 metal plates was purchased to help standardize the Mission’s handwritten “mailing list.” In 1966, Mr. Johnson reported to the board that a Mrs. Booth had sent a donation of $1 to the board. Mrs. Booth was 91 years old and had a monthly income of $41. The Johnsons were aware and pleased that the Mission’s financial base was composed of many givers (such as Mrs. Booth) who gave sacrificially. They believed that gifts given by many cheerful givers made the best financial base for the Mission.
In 1965 the Rescue Mission learned that their property was going to be condemned to accommodate “urban renewal.” The City offered to pay the Rescue Mission $56,000 for their property. The Mission offered to sell the property to the City for $200,000.
The board decided in 1967 to have a capital campaign to raise $200,000 to build a new Rescue Mission in SE Roanoke. In 1968, against the advice of the “experts,” luncheons were held for prospective donors not at a local hotel but on site at the Rescue Mission so that people could see the work being discussed. Also, in 1968, the City Rescue Mission hosted the International Union of Gospel Missions (a fellowship of rescue missions from all over the United States).
In 1969, 35 children from the Mission’s programs were taken to camp for the first time.
The Tazewell Methodist Church and adjoining property were purchased as a future site of the Mission. The condemnation suit with the City had been settled to the satisfaction of the board. TA Carter was asked to design the new mission building to be located on 4th Street in SE.
The Rescue Mission moved into their new building in 1973 (enough funds were raised to finish paying for the building by the end of the year).
In December of that year, Lois suffered a heart attack and was hospitalized. On the day she went home, Gus Johnson suffered a heart attack and was hospitalized. Their daughter Joy was completing her first semester at Southern Seminary in Louisville and their son Wayne was graduating from Perdue University in Indiana and preparing for a wedding December 29 in Ft. Wayne to his fiancé Jenny.
Gus died the next day and was buried on a snowy Christmas Eve 1973. Joy led the Mission in the traditional children’s “Happybag Program” and Christmas Feast. She then drove Lois (who was too sick to fly) to the wedding in Ft. Wayne.
Due to Lois’s health, Joy did not return to seminary the next semester, but remained in Roanoke to help direct the Mission until Lois was well enough to continue.
Lois was named the Executive Director of the Rescue Mission in January of 1974. During that year she was called to the men’s shelter division when a man refused to come out of the shower area and the staff was too afraid to go in after him. She told the man that he had better come out or she would be coming in. The man responded “…Come on in, the water’s fine.” It was at that moment Lois decided there were some things that required a “man” in the running of the Mission.
A year later (1974), Lois married George Bettis. George became the Associate Director of the Mission and took on the responsibility of the physical plant.
In 1985 Joy was asked to come to Roanoke from her home in NY to accompany Lois (who had suffered another heart attack) to the IUGM Convention in Seattle WA. While at the convention, Joy and Lois had a very significant meeting with two other women, Mrs. Leonard Hunt and Mrs. Herbert Eberhardt.
In this meeting, Mrs. Hunt (who had been present at Gus’ conversion at the United Rescue Mission in Chicago) told Lois and Joy about the event half a century before when Gus had prayed for a baby and dedicated that “hoped for child” to God’s service. Mrs. Eberhardt, retired from the Washington DC Mission (who had been such an encouragement to Lois in the early days of the Roanoke Mission) also confided that she had been praying for Joy to work at the Roanoke Rescue Mission since 1968, when she was still a student at Taylor University in Indiana.
Lois confided to the women that due to her health issues she was very concerned about the future of the Rescue Mission and she had been praying that her son Wayne might come and direct the Mission, but that he did not see himself in that role. Mrs. Eberhardt gently suggested that Lois might have been praying for the wrong child.
The four women retired to Mrs. Eberhardt’s room and had a season of prayer in which they prayed for God’s discernment about Joy coming to direct the Rescue Mission in Roanoke.
Joy and her husband John and their two children (Anders age 7 and Jon Kara age 28 days) moved to Roanoke for Joy to begin work as Director of Development and Outreach on May 1, 1986.
In 1986 the Rescue Mission had 13 staff members and an annual budget of $200,000.
The first challenge was to computerize the Mission’s data base and create a monthly newsletter. Joy bought two computers and began writing the monthly newsletter and monthly thank-you letters to all donors. This was followed by the creation of a weekly television program on public television to broaden the donor base of the Mission. The Mission staff learned how to do a capital campaign when they raised a million dollars to build the Family Shelter (currently the Men’s Shelter) in 1989. Another challenge was to begin the foundation work for the Lifeline Foundation (aka The Rescue Mission Foundation) and a planned giving program.
In the following years, Joy as Director of Development and Outreach and John as Director of the Recovery Program were to design and implement the Mission’s first recovery programs, learning center and camping program at Jubilee Acres (a property built in 1993).
In 1998, Lois celebrated 50 years at the Rescue Mission and the musical “Soup, Soap and Salvation” was written by Joy and Dr. John Priddy to commemorate the occasion. Plans were made to build a new campus for the Rescue Mission including a new thrift store, administration building, kitchen and dining room, women’s recovery building and single women’s shelter.
Within weeks of the celebration, Lois suffered a massive coronary attack and was hospitalized. She and George retired from Mission work later that year.
Joy was named Chief Executive Officer. She and Judy Perfater (a full-time volunteer recently retired from the Roanoke Times) ran a capital campaign that eventually raised more than four million dollars to pay for the new thrift store, the new KDAC (Kitchen, Dining, Admin and Chapel), and the caretakers House at Jubilee Acres.
The Art On A Mission Store was opened at Tanglewood Mall to give the Mission the opportunity to sell at a higher price the antiques and collectibles that come into the Thrift Store. To make the store consistently viable, the addition of local artists’ works on a consignment basis was also added to this location.
Zoning problems delayed the building of the proposed Women and Children’s Center. In retrospect, this allowed time to build the clinic, the new learning center, the pottery studio and the Rescued House at 402 Bullitt Avenue.
At a construction cost of 4 million dollars, the Women and Children’s Center was completed in 2005. Pledges were raised to completely pay for the building in the same year. The first three graduates of the new women’s program completed their program in 2006.
In 2007 the Rescue Mission formed a strategic visioning team representing all the various Mission departments. This team identified that aftercare was a major concern at the Mission. Providing a program to keep in touch with graduates and their families and providing transitional housing for graduates as they re-entered life outside the Mission were considered paramount. In 2008 property was found at 6th and Bullitt and was purchased for just under one million dollars. Plans were made to convert three of the four buildings at the site into aftercare apartments. Plans were drawn for three of the buildings on the site and construction began on two of the properties in the Spring of 2009.
The medical clinic, in 2008 added a portable dental clinic and staff soon realized that a larger facility was needed to house medical/psychiatric and dental clinics that could operate simultaneously to accommodate the great number of patients who needed help. Renovation of an existing building on the Mission’s campus was started in the latter part of 2009 to accommodate the new clinic. A generous donation by a board member enabled 2nd helpings, a new earned income project that included a high end resale retail shop, an art gallery and a café was opened on Williamson Road (2 blocks north of the Civic Center) to raise the additional operating funds the new expanded clinic would need.
Using its “Conviction Based Development Strategy”, the Rescue Mission will always be looking for better ways to address human suffering in the name of Christ. Once a need is perceived the team investigates if there is anyone else better qualified to address that particular need. If no one is found, the team designs a program to address the need, then designs a strategy to fund the program. This three part process (all done prayerfully) is the way the Rescue Mission determines when to expand or increase its scope.
Lois and Gus’ vision of a Rescue Mission that was open and available to all people, supported by many and open 24/7 to people in need, has become a reality. Today the Rescue Mission is the largest homeless shelter in the state of Virginia and with the partnership of churches, businesses and other organizations, offers a variety of programs to help thousands of hurting people.
Today there is a state of the art campus with more than 398 beds to accommodate the Mission’s programs. There is a dedicated staff of 95 talented and faithful people. There are over 4,000 willing and cheerful volunteers. There is an Executive Board of 24 passionate people from the community. There is a budget of approximately 3 million dollars.
Most important of all, the Rescue Mission has remained true to its original purpose of “helping hurting people in Jesus’ name.” The Rescue Mission continues to be an open door to people in crisis—people just like Gus Johnson. We believe that if we are faithful to the One who has been faithful to us, that God will honor our work and complete the transformation from brokenness to wholeness, from darkness to light, from despair to hope.
The Rescue Mission is supported by the generous donations of our community partners who have “cheerfully” supported its ministries since 1948. All gifts to the Rescue Mission of Roanoke, a 501(c)(3) organization, are received with gratitude and are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by the IRS.
A copy of the Mission’s most recent audited financial statement and tax return can be viewed by clicking on the link below. We are grateful for your support!
Transparency and Accountability are important to us because we are stewards of the Lord’s money.
If you’ve seen one rescue mission—you’ve seen one rescue mission. That is why we hope you will take us up on the invitation to come and experience the Rescue Mission of Roanoke for yourself. See it with your own eyes. Talk to some of the folks working here and receiving services here. Stay for lunch and “taste” the best 18¢ lunch anywhere!
We suspect a tour will change you, challenge you and give you a vision for how you can make a difference.
On your tour you will see a clean campus, meet friendly people and hear about a multitude of ministries and volunteer opportunities. We hope you will note a strong sense of purpose, organization and grace throughout the Mission.
So, what are you waiting for?
Join us for a “Meet Me at the Mission on Monday” tour.
Every Monday at noon, a Rescue Mission staff member is ready to welcome you and share a tour of the Mission Campus.
No reservation is needed for this tour and a complimentary lunch in the dining room is included. Simply show up at the main building lobby at 402 Fourth Street, SE, Roanoke, VA 24013 a few minutes before noon on any Monday.
Call 540.343.7227 for directions or click the link at the bottom of this page.
We encourage you to see the Rescue Mission for yourself and draw your own conclusions. We suspect it will change you, challenge you and give you a vision for how you can make a difference.
Teams committed to the work of Christ, specifically amongst the poor, by addressing the causes and remedies for homelessness and addiction.
Rescue Mission Board of Directors
The Rescue Mission Board is composed of 24 dedicated men and women who are passionate about their faith and the work of the Rescue Mission. These board members are representative of many different denominations, professions, and geographic neighborhoods. Their role is to set policy, raise the budget and be good stewards of the Mission’s resources, and to act as ambassadors for the Rescue Mission. The board meets 9 times each year for regular meetings to review reports on programs, development and finance. The board is comprised of several working committees that meet through out the year to address specific tasks such as construction, finance, board dvelopment, program development and industrial development.
Jackson Lee Dickerson, President
Jennifer T. Brothers, Vice President
Glen C. Combs, 2nd Vice President
Margaret Ann Ayers, Secretary
George A Kegley, Asst Secretary
J Kelly Speas, Treasurer
Joy Sylvester-Johnson, CEO
Lee Ann Carter
George B Cartledge III
W. Richard Clemmer, Jr.
Francis Joseph Duckwall, M.D.
Ted J Sutton
Rescue Mission Foundation Board
The Foundation Board was formed to grow and administer endowment funds for the Rescue Mission. This group is responsible for investing and growing the funds earned from planned giving activities to be used for the future security and expansion of the Rescue Mission.
J. Lee Osborne, President
Scott Berglund, Treasurer
Joy Sylvester-Johnson, CEO
Kimberly Anderson (Kim)
Mary K Bayse
Larry G Conner, Sr
M. Wayne Epperly
F Courtney Hoge
Cindy N Fendley
Daniel E. Karnes
Dean A. Wadsworth
Rescue Mission Healthcare Advisory Board
This Advisory Board was formed to give expert assistance to the Rescue Mission clinics. Healthcare professionals review policies and protocol, attract new healthcare volunteers and seek to mentor clinic staff.
Charles E. Conklin, DDS
Paul Dallas, MD
Joe Duckwall, MD
Faith Pasley, MD, Medical Director
Lee Shaffer, MD
Joy Sylvester-Johnson, CEO
Rescue Mission Auxiliary Leadership Council
The Auxiliary Leadership Council was formed to plan projects and events for the auxiliary which acts as a liaison to the churches.
It may begin with a hot meal and a bed for the night, but it doesn’t end there.
The Rescue Mission has three emergency shelters and a respite care unit committed to offering safe shelter to those who are homeless.
The shelters offer a safe environment for people in crisis. In addition to a warm bed and three meals per day, there is medical attention, legal assistance and clothing assistance available. Spiritual guidance is offered through our nightly chapel services which are hosted by local churches of all denominations.
The Case Management Team does an initial assessment to establish the guest’s employment, housing, educational, legal, medical, childcare needs in order to make a realistic plan to exit homelessness.
This plan will help the guest access appropriate social services and create a workable solution leading towards a more stable life. It is the Rescue Mission’s desire for each person to feel welcome and to be empowered to live as independently and abundantly as possible.
See what a typical day consists of at the Mission for the men and women staying in the shelter.
See what a typical day consists of for a child staying at the Women and Children’s Center.
A place to begin again.
The Rescue Mission’s Residential Recovery Program for men and women is about intentional change for those in bondage to addiction and a lifestyle of self-abuse. Alcoholics and addicts who have lost everything, or who have run out of options and have no place to turn for a long-term structured, recovery program, may find a place to begin again at the Rescue Mission.
2014 Intake Dates for Men:
January 6th April 14th July 21st October 27th
2014 Intake Dates for Women:
February 24th June 2nd September 8th
On each date, applicants would need to be here by 5:00 p.m. on the Sunday night prior to the Monday intake.
The Rescue Mission Residential Recovery Program seeks to provide program participants with the tools to move from a life of self-abuse and destruction to a life lived in recovery punctuated by grace.
The program lasts approximately 16 months, beginning with an eight week screening and discernment process called “Candidacy.” Participants then “phase up” to the 4-Phase recovery program, taking a variety of classes including educational, life skills, recovery specific and spiritual formation.
All participants work part of each day in a community service assignment on-site at the Rescue Mission.
It is important that participants build a healthy support system outside of the Rescue Mission while in the program. This happens in two ways. Each participant attends local 12-step meetings such as AA, NA, OA and AL-Anon, attains a sponsor and does step work; and each participant becomes involved in a local church of his or her choice.
Men and women are housed in separate areas, but share classroom and dining facilities. The final phase involves a job search and permanent housing and culminates in a graduation event.
The Mission offers a “graduate” year of extended program called Residential Support Team where participants become mentors for recovery participants and work in a paid position at the Rescue Mission.
An Aftercare Program is being developed for graduates to further extend their support network and ease their reentry into society. The Aftercare Program includes the option for graduate housing which will provide affordable, drug and alcohol-free rental units designed to support the transition to independent living. (Expected completion date 2010)
Here is a snapshot of the Recovery Program
Potter, poet, painter MC Richards once said of her work in clay, “It is not the pots we are forming, it is ourselves.” As program participants are discovering life free of addictions – the Rescue Mission’s clay studio helps each person to find a sense of ‘center’ by working on the potter’s wheel. It is an amazing discovery to realize we are all being formed and transformed by a Divine Potter. “Just like clay in the potter’s hands, so are you in God’s hands.” (Jeremiah 18:6)
Program participants take an Introduction to Clay course at the beginning of Phase One of their program. After this introductory course, participants may take other elective courses in clay, a course with Bill Beamer on the use of Art and Pain Management or a course that explores the fine craft of jewelry making. One of our long-range goals for the Recovery Arts Program would be the addition of stained-glass courses to our creative options – a tangible means for seeing Light shine through that which was previously broken.
To participate in a creative process is to connect with being made in the image of The Creator of all – fully and wonderfully made.
Mending Wings Learning Center is an important part of our recovery program. Each participant is assessed for aptitude and ability, and given an individualized learning plan. Staff and volunteers assist with teaching courses, and with tutoring individuals at all levels of learning.
At Mending Wings, we conduct a range of classes in recovery topics and self-improvement. We have a library of donated books including reference materials, text books, bibles, spiritual/meditational guides and books about recovery. It’s also a nice place to check the latest headlines from the local newspaper, or to jot a card or letter to family members.
Frequently, adult learners face fear and shame because of their perceived academic shortcomings. At the Mending Wings Adult Learning Center, we choose to celebrate achievements! For example, our program offers basic computer knowledge to those who have never used computers before. We provide on-going training so that all program graduates will have effective skills for the workplace, including the ability to key at least 30 words per minute.
A plate of good food, served in the name of Christ, with a joyful heart, can be the first step towards healing, recovery and wholeness.
Thank you to the many volunteers who prepare and serve meals at the Rescue Mission daily!
“We don’t feed people to share the gospel. We do it because it is the gospel.” Amen.
The Rescue Mission receives, prepares and serves food to hungry people everyday using food donations from a variety of generous sources. Grocery stores, food manufacturers, food warehouses, caterers, farmers and hunters all help provide the donated food for the meals enabling the Rescue Mission to serve a meal at a cost of approximately 11¢ a plate. In 2013, the Rescue Mission served 291,609 meals using food donated from these sources.
Food is collected, prepared and served by a coalition of staff, recovery program participants and volunteers. Hospitality meals at lunch and dinner are open to the public.
Food Donations may be brought any time (containers will be washed and returned by the kitchen staff) to the main building lobby from 7am – 9pm. For donations after hours, please call us at 343.7227, choose option 1 for Men’s Shelter and we will arrange to meet you in the front.
Large Food Donations may be scheduled as a Rescue Mission pick-up Monday – Friday between 9am – 5pm by calling 540.343.7227.
Wild Game Donations should be taken directly to Overstreet’s Meat Processors at 1515 Eastern Avenue NE, Roanoke, 540.342.3860, where they will process the meat for Mission use.
Volunteer groups and individuals to serve meals are always welcomed. The schedule for food service volunteers are
“For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in.” Matthew 25:35
The Rescue Mission Free Clinic began in 2002 in the basement of the main Mission building. Last year, with a budget of under $200,000, the Rescue Mission Free Clinic for the Homeless provided medical services for homeless men, women and children valued at $2,522,994.00.
The clinics operates under the direction of a volunteer medical director and a managing staff nurse who are assisted by a receptionist, a clinical care coordinator, a medical case manager and a host of volunteer healthcare professionals from the community. Although there are a number of healthcare initiatives to assist the poor and uninsured in the Roanoke Valley, there is no agency equipped to manage the specific healthcare needs of the homeless - a population plagued with medical, psychiatric and dental issues. With a 61% increase in clinic visits recorded in 2008, and the opportunity to offer dental as well as medical and psychiatric services, it became increasingly obvious that the Mission’s clinic needed more space in order to continue its phenomenal work.
A building across the street from the main Mission became available enabling the clinic to triple its size
On February 14th, 2010, the Rescue Mission with hundreds of friends, dedicated the new “G. Wayne Fralin Free Clinic For the Homeless.” The clinic has 6 exam rooms, 2 psychiatric counseling offices, 4 dental operatories and a large classroom as well as a large reception area.
Being able to hold dental, medical and psychiatric clinics simultaneously (something that wasn’t possible in the previously cramped basement space) means more volunteer providers can work at the same time and more patients can be seen. The shared reception area means this new expanded clinic can be operated more efficiently. This new clinic is HDAC compliant and is on a city bus route making the clinic very accessible for patients and volunteers.
The Clinic operates with a staff nurse, a part-time nurse practitioner, a medication coordinator and a host of volunteer healthcare professionals from the community. Although there are a number of healthcare initiatives to assist the poor and uninsured in the Roanoke Valley, there is no agency equipped to manage the specific healthcare needs of the homeless - a population plagued with medical, dental, psychiatric and substance abuse issues.
Medication Assistance is provided to homeless, jobless, uninsured individuals through the Rescue Mission Free Clinic for the Homeless. Medication and medication management are provided at no charge to homeless patients. In 2009, 7,863 prescriptions were secured for homeless individuals.
Intense Medical Case Management is the most efficient way to meet these growing needs. Appointments can be made Monday through Friday. Walk-in appointments are available on Tuesday evenings. In 2009, over 2.5 million dollars of free medical care was provided to homeless individuals in the Mission’s clinic.
Respite Care is available for guests with illnesses and injuries requiring frequent medical treatments, bed rest, or acute management and managed through the Rescue Mission Free Clinic for the Homeless. Respite Care is intended to last no more than 2 weeks and must be requested directly from a medical provider. In 2009, 3,215 days of respite care were provided to homeless individuals to sick to be in the general shelter population.
Educational Classes are offered for various healthcare issues. Some of the classes include: Diabetic Education, Smoking Cessation, Post Acute Withdrawal, The Addicted Brain, Oral Health, and Healthy Living. Additional classes are currently in the works.
Bless My Sole is a foot washing ministry designed to share Christ’s love with the homeless. Light refreshments and live music are offered by volunteers. Patients get their feet washed and engage in conversation and prayer with the volunteers. A volunteer medical provider checks the patient’s feet, trims nails, and provides medical care as needed. Volunteers and patients are equally touched by the experience.
The Rescue Mission is proud to partner with The Virginia Health Care Foundation who is a public-private partnership dedicated to increasing access to care for uninsured Virginians and those in underserved areas and The Carilion Foundation, Project Access, and Lewis Gale Hospital. The Rescue Misison Free Clinic is proud to be an active member of the Virginia Association of Free Clinics. Educational Partnership.
The Rescue Mission happily opens our doors to students in various fields of study. We believe that the more exposure students have to the homeless population the better they will be able to serve all in need once they graduate. Currently students from Jefferson College of Health Sciences, Skyline College, National Business College, Virginia Western Community College, Radford University, Notre Dame University, Hollins University, Virginia Tech, University of Virginia, and Roanoke College are gaining experience in our Free Clinic.
The Rescue Mission Case Management Team offers a wide variety of services to benefit guests at the Rescue Mission. Every recovery program participant, family shelter guest, men’s shelter guest, women’s shelter guest and respite guest is offered the service of Case Management.
The Case Management Team begins with an assessment of individual needs and then the Case Manager and the guest develop a plan together for success.
Case managers work with local agencies such as
The Case Manager refers guests to local agencies for intakes. Sometimes this involves transporting the guest to the appointment, following up with a representative from the other agency and helping the guest to navigate through the inevitable paperwork that some entitlement programs require. That quickly starts the plan into motion. Together with other local agencies, we assist guests with housing, employment, photo identification, money management, life skills, child care and other needs based on their individual plans. It is our goal to empower, motivate and assist our guests in the direction of fulfilling their goals to be self sufficient.
Helping with the basics during your time of need.
The Rescue Mission, in following Christ’s example to serve others and desiring to show his love to all people, is pleased to offer clothing vouchers to those in need. Applications for clothing vouchers for the community are processed in the main building lobby of the Rescue Mission by the Reception Team on Saturdays from 9am – 4pm. Applicants are required to bring verification of eligibility with them which include any of the following:
Applicants must also present a valid photo ID (if over 18) and Social Security Card for each household member including children. Each person residing in the home over the age of 18 must apply for their own card. If the ID has been stolen, a police report dated no more than 90 days prior is acceptable. The Reception Team will verify eligibility and provide a photo ID voucher card for each household member on the application. Each person must be present to have their pictures taken; however, they do not have to be present for their voucher card to be honored if they are under the age of 18, homebound, or disabled (proof of guardianship/disability required).
Voucher cards are honored at the Thrift Store Monday through Friday from 10am – 5pm.
Vouchers are valued as follows, expire in 120 days if not used and must be renewed annually.
If you or someone you know qualifies for social services and help is needed with clothing, please visit the Rescue Mission lobby in the main building on Saturdays between 9am – 4pm to apply for a Clothing Voucher card. For more information on the Clothing Voucher Program, call 540.343.7227.
This ecumenical ministry demonstrates Christ’s love in action.
We understand that some of the best sermons many of us have “heard” have had no words. We also believe that every act of agape at the Rescue Mission is done with a sense of gratitude for what the Lord has done in our lives.
There has been an evening chapel service at the Rescue Mission of Roanoke every day since July 2, 1948. Today there are multiple services daily. Many different churches participate in our chapel ministry. All are welcome. A description of what is currently being offered is listed below.
Morning Start devotions are held Monday through Friday at 7.30am for Residential Recovery Program Participants. Morning Start is led by staff, volunteers and sometimes the participants themselves. It is an opportunity for all to spend the first part of their day in Christian community with inspiration and prayer.
Family Chapel is held every night at 6.30pm in the Women and Children’s Center. This is a time for local churches to minister to families staying in the Emergency Family Shelter. Services are often augmented by youth group skits, puppet shows, and kid-friendly stories to involve the whole family. As part of Family Chapel, there is also an opportunity to host a Children’s Chapel for younger children.
Depending on the number of children residing in shelter as many as three different children’s chapels (segmented by age) are offered Monday through Friday evenings. Youth groups from local congregations enjoy leading interactive activities in children’s chapel. Chapel volunteers report at 5:45pm to help lead the children from the dining room. Children’s Chapel is held from 6:00 to 7:30pm.
The Rescue Mission offers a Hospitality Chapel every night at 7.45pm led by church groups representing more than 100 different congregations. This ecumenical ministry demonstrates Christ’s love in action and provides an opportunity for local churches to interact with homeless people in worship. It is the desire of the Rescue Mission to demonstrate Christ’s love by bringing people to repentance and belief in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. Mission Chaplains are on duty during the Hospitality Chapel to assist those who ask for prayer or who wish to make a faith decision.
A place set apart.
Jubilee Acres, a beautiful 13-acre wooded retreat center on Catawba Mountain, was donated to the Rescue Mission by Joyce Birdsall in honor of her best friend, Ruth Carroll. The log lodge was dedicated in August of 1993. The brick caretakers’ house located on the same property was dedicated on May 31, 1998. In addition to hiking trails, there are two playgrounds, a volleyball court, a pond and a low ropes initiatives challenge course.
Each summer, the children who reside in the Family Shelter of the Rescue Mission’s Women and Children’s Center are invited to attend Day Camp at Jubilee Acres. Jubilee Camp provides children with fun activities while allowing parents time to work or go to appointments and interviews. Day Camp begins the week after Roanoke public schools end the spring semester and ends the second week in August.
Day Camp at Jubilee Acres is led by local church groups. An interested group promises to provide supervision and programming (including arts and crafts materials) for one week of camp. The Rescue Mission provides campers, transportation for the campers, lunch, snacks, and the use of the retreat center.
Anywhere from ten to twenty kids (ages 4-12) attend Day Camp each week. Due to the transitional nature of the families, the groups of children change from week to week so flexible volunteers are needed. During the day, the campers sing loudly, play hard and get wet in the creek! But most importantly, the kids experience the love of Christ in the relationships made with their camp counselors.
Enjoy hiking trails, two playgrounds,volleyball court and low ropes initiatives challenge course.
Jubilee Acres is also available to church and civic groups on a once-a-year, free-of-charge basis for day or evening events. In addition to the campers, hundreds of individuals have visited Jubilee Acres since 2001, holding different events such as senior citizens’ luncheons, church staff retreats, 4-H classes, deacons retreats, scouting events, choir retreats, etc.
Local businesses have found a team building event at Jubilee Acres to be especially valuable.
The low ropes challenge course has 13 challenge events with a corresponding Bible name and alcohol/drug addiction recovery issue applications at each station.
If you would like to reserve a day at the serene and beautiful retreat center, please contact Becky Taconet at 540.384.6822.
A bad hair day can ruin everything.
…gives a person a needed mental boost, helps build self-esteem…
Well, not really. But most of us agree that when we look less than our best it makes things harder. So it makes sense that a “good hair day” might give you an extra boost of confidence that makes life a little easier and well – better.
We have found that a stylish haircut gives a homeless person a needed mental boost and builds their self-esteem.
“Angels with Scissors” is a ministry of the Rescue Mission founded by Mission volunteer and Stylist, Sharon Mirtaheri. Since 2005, the Angels with Scissors have provided free haircuts to men, women and children in a chic salon located right on the Mission’s campus.
The salon is set up to be “volunteer–friendly” so that volunteer hairstylists can donate time ranging from as little as one hour of service to an entire day. The Rescue Mission always has new guests who are eager to be transformed in the salon.
The Rescue Mission Legal Services Ministry is designed to help Mission guests learn what legal resources are available to them. The Rescue Mission volunteer attorneys triage the legal issues then either work with the guests or refer them to independent attorneys in private practice to be seen on a pro bono basis. Attorneys throughout the Roanoke Valley have collaborated to provide legal referral services to the guests and residents of the Rescue Mission.
The Legal Referral Clinic is held twice monthly (the first and third Fridays of the month at 10:00am) on site at the Rescue Mission. Attorneys provide no-charge consultation to the homeless for:
Designed to help our guests learn what legal resources are available to them.
How it works: Residents and guests requests an appointment through the Legal Referral Coordinator and complete questionnaires outlining their situations prior to meeting with the attorney. In the event the guest’s needs exceed the attorney’s area of expertise, the attorneys refer to other attorneys in the Roanoke Valley willing to assist on a pro bono basis.
For more information, please contact Holly Paulette, Legal Referral Coordinator, at holly,email@example.com or 540.343.7227.
There are many ways to volunteer at the Rescue Mission. You may have a special talent we can use or be able to fill-in for a regular volunteer who is away.
A few of our opportunities are listed below, but if you have a new idea, or you’re not sure what is a good fit, contact us.
Volunteer Needs for February 2014
Food Service Volunteers welcome groups and individuals to serve meals and help with preparation. We have the following needs:
Mountain Movers - Christmas Card stuffing happens in late October. Call in late September/early October to volunteer.
Jubilee Acres Volunteers do outside cleaning and maintenance at the Mission’s retreat center as well as inside cleaning in the spring and fall, preparing the lodge and grounds for day camp and other events. This is a great intergenerational activity.
Table favors are a piece of candy (no gum please) attached to a small note with a scripture verse or encouraging word. We need 200 for lunch and 300 for supper. What a fun time to gather the kids, a Sunday School group or your senior group and have a Table Favor Party! Just drop off the completed table favors at the Mission’s front desk. Rescue Mission staff and volunteers take every opportunity to let guests know how much they are valued and loved and one way to do this is to provide a “table favor” at each place setting.
Thrift Store volunteers must be age 15 or older. They may be asked to hang, tag or price clothing, assist in cleaning furniture or bric-a-brac or assemble furniture. Thrift Store volunteer hours are 8:30 am – 5 pm Monday – Saturday.
Metals Department sort by commodity.
Transporters devote a regular weekday morning or afternoon to drive the Mission transport van. The transport van takes Rescue Mission guests to appointments, picks up smaller donations from local businesses, and delivers courier items for all Mission departments. This is a wonderful couples volunteer opportunity!
We’re always open to other ideas, too!
CONGRATULATIONS TO OUR 2012 VOLUNTEERS OF THE YEAR!
2nd Helpings Shop: Mary Ahearn
Children’s Ministry: Kyndal Grammer
Dental Clinic: Dr. W. Scott & Ann Weaver
Development: Norma Coulling
Discipleship: Emily Hoyer
Family Chapel: Positive Impact Ministries
Food Services: Karen Gwitt
Hospitality Chapel: Faith Baptist Church – Jim Shockley
Learning Center: Carolyn Daugherty
Maintenance: New Hope Christian Church
Medical Clinic: Azella Tingler, LPN
Men’s Shelter: Mike Thompson
Thrift Store: Cheryl McCormick
Transportation: Ken Sowder
Vision Clinic: Dr. Glenn Herman
Family Shelter: New Beginnings
Connecting the Churches. The Rescue Mission Auxiliary was founded over 50 years ago to be the connection between the Mission and the local church. Every other month, approximately 120 women (and a few men!) get together for an inspirational speaker, special music and tasty food. Current updates on Mission needs and events are shared at each meeting. This is a great opportunity for churches who want to see possibilities to be “on mission” and who are interested in working with other denominational groups to accomplish projects bigger than the participating churches could accomplish alone.
Founded over 50 years ago to be the connection between the Mission and the local church.
The Auxiliary presents an annual Church Secretary Appreciation Luncheon in May where church secretaries representing many different churches are honored. This event gives the Rescue Mission the opportunity to show appreciation for all that church secretaries do for the people in crisis. It also helps connect the secretaries to the ministry of the Rescue Mission in a very tangible way. After attending a Church Secretary Luncheon, secretaries are able to say with conviction that they have been to the Mission and they know firsthand that the Mission is a safe, clean, uplifting place.
In 2014, the Auxiliary will meet on the 3rd Wednesday in January, March, May, September ,and November at 12:00 Noon in the Rescue Mission’s main dining room. Lunch is provided.
To enhance the Mission’s presence in the business community, the E.V.E. Network was formed as a ministry of the Rescue Mission in the Fall of 2004. Standing for ENERGY, VISION and ENTHUSIASM, E.V.E. is made up of representatives from area businesses, education organizations, retail establishments and community volunteers. This group of high-energy, busy individuals meets every other month for an action-packed hour to learn about Mission opportunities, network with women from all over the region and take the word back to their work place and or groups they are a part of.
Some projects the E.V.E. members have taken on include:
The E.V.E. signature project is the StellarOne Drumstick Dash Thanksgiving Day 5K Run and Family Walk to benefit the Rescue Mission. The Drumstick Dash involves business sponsors, runner and walker registration, street musicians, food, advertising and street marshals. Last year more than 300 volunteers assisted 5,000 runners, walkers, dogs and volunteers participated and this year 7,500 are expected!
The E.V.E. Network meets every odd month on the 2nd Thursday (January, March, May, July, September, November) from 5.30 – 6.30pm in the Women and Children’s Center Community Room.
Your generous support is greatly appreciated and will be put to work right away to make Mission possible.
The Rescue Mission provides a safety net of comprehensive care for the homeless, the hungry, the chemically addicted, the impoverished and the hopeless in SW Virignia. Your gift will be used in the area of greatest need unless you choose to designate a particular Mission ministry. The Rescue Mission intentionally receives no government funding from Federal, State, City or Regional Governments. Your generous support is greatly appreciated and will be put to work right away to keep making Mission possible in our community.
You may also designate a gift to a particular ministry at the Rescue Mission. Options include: The Lois Johnson Bettis Women & Children’s Center, Residential Recovery Programs, Emergency Shelter Ministries, The Rescue Mission’s Free Clinic for the Homeless, The Hospitality Dining Room, Case Management Ministries or Jubilee Acres Summer Day Camp for Kids.
Frequently Asked Questions about Donations
Here are some ways you can make a difference at the Rescue Mission.
Click Here to Donate
The Rescue Mission
PO Box 11525
Roanoke, VA 24022
7am – 9pm every day
The Rescue Mission
402 Fourth Street, SE
Roanoke, VA 24013
Gail Strickler, 540.777.7687
All gifts to the Rescue Mission of Roanoke, a 501(c)(3) organization, are received with gratitude and are tax deductible to the full extent allowed by the IRS.
You have the satisfaction today of knowing that your gift will help change lives at The Rescue Mission tomorrow.
You can provide now for a future gift to The Rescue Mission Foundation by including a provision in your will or revocable trust. This advance planning gives you several benefits including:
For recommended language needed to create a bequest for the Rescue Mission in your will, click here.
You can make a real difference in a homeless person’s life for only pennies a day in our Bread, Beds and Meds Club.
You can make a real difference in a homeless person’s life for only pennies a day in our Bread, Beds and Meds Club.
We make a little bit go a long way.
A charitable gift annuity for the Rescue Mission is truly a gift that gives back to the donor and to the Rescue Mission. With a Rescue Mission Foundation charitable gift annuity, you can lock in an excellent rate of income, help the Mission and save on your taxes.
A gift that gives back.
Your annuity check will be sent to you quarterly. Your income is secure for life. And this is one time that “getting older” is a benefit because the older you are, the better the rate! Once you have made this decision you are assured that (at your death), the remaining principal will go to The Rescue Mission Foundation to help homeless families.
Surprising how your extra “stuff” can make a difference in people’s lives.
The Rescue Mission depends on the generosity of donors just like you. With an average of 360 people a night in emergency shelter, respite care and recovery programs, all sorts of things are needed to keep the Mission going.
Don’t see your specific item listed here? Call the Rescue Mission at 540.343.7227. You’ll be surprised at how your extra “stuff” can make a difference in people’s lives.
All find the blessing of God’s grace in this safe and life-changing place.
Honor Thy Father Wall and Honor Thy Mother Wall – the best way to remember a special loved one.
There are two opportunities to honor or memorialize an important person in your life while endowing the future of the Rescue Mission.
Located in the Fralin Chapel and the foyer of the Women and Children’s Center are two larger than life murals created out of wood by the father and daughter artist team – John Reed and Judi Anderson. People who wish to honor or memorialize someone may purchase a wooden block inscribed with the honoree’s name surrounding one of these works of art.
The Honor Thy Mother Wall, constructed in 2005, currently holds more than 140 names generating $140,000 endowment funds. The Honor Thy Father Wall was constructed in the fall of 2008 and has the same capacity to honor men of distinction and significance in our lives while raising funds for the Rescue Mission.
These two giving options enable The Rescue Mission Foundation to collect and invest funds to endow the buildings which have been constructed on the Mission’s campus. Stewardship of the resources pledged to the Rescue Mission has always been an important part of how we approach all capital projects.
Here are two easy ways to support the Rescue Mission that won’t cost you a penny!
Use a Kroger Gift Card to buy your groceries . The Kroger Gift Card is a pre-paid debit cardand will benefit The Rescue Mission. When you purchase the card $5 are already loaded on the card.
Register your Food Lion MVP card at foodlionmvprewards.com for the Rescue Mission.
Each time you shop, Food Lion will support the Rescue Mission.
The Rescue Mission Foundation was established in 1991 to create an endowment fund for the support of the Rescue Mission. Today, the Foundation manages over $1.5 million dollars in assets and charitable gift annuity commitments with a goal to create a total endowment of $15 million dollars by 2020.
You can make a bigger difference than you ever thought possible
With a gift to The Rescue Mission Foundation, donors can make a bigger difference than they ever thought possible. Donors to the Foundation can be confident that The Rescue Mission Foundation will use their gift to help the poor.
Possible gifts to the Foundation include bequests, charitable gift annuities, appreciated assets such as real estate or stock, trusts, or cash. Click to see a list of Planned Giving Options. Gifts can directed to endow specific ministries at the Rescue Mission.
2nd Helpings is a new venture the Mission has opened on Williamson Road at the Civic Mall (2 blocks north of the Civic Center) to fund the operating budget of ministries such as our shelters, hospitality dining room and new clinic.
Visit the 2nd Helpings website at http://www.2ndhelpings.org
The frugally-minded with “discriminating taste” has an upscale shopping experience at the 2nd Helpings Shop which sells fabulous fashions, furnishings, collectibles and pet accessories. The purchase of a gently-used designer coat, unusual piece of depression glass or prized antique brings real joy twice at the 2nd Helpings Shop. First, a shopper is blessed when she discovers a rare treasure. A second blessing happens when that same shopper realizes her purchases helped someone who is homeless find their way home.
The 2nd Helpings Gallery offers eclectic works of art from more than 100 talented, regional artists including photography, pottery, woodworking, drawings, sculpture, glass, jewelry, textiles and more. The purchase of original art from the gallery blesses the shopper in three ways: first, the beauty of the piece itself will enhance the office or home; second, the purchase of the art will encourage and support local artists; and finally, the purchase will provide funds for a homeless person to access the medical attention they need.
Monthly Artist Receptions
Receptions are held on the 2nd Saturday of each month, highlighting one (or more) of the artists currently displaying their work inside the Gallery. The events start at 1:00 p.m. and features live music, refreshments, and an opportunity to meet the artists.
The next reception is Saturday, July 13th from 1:00 - 3:00 pm. The featured artists will be Patricia Benosky and Sue Kesting
The 2nd Helpings Café is a new place to eat breakfast and lunch as well as enjoy scrumptious desserts in the afternoon. The service is fast and friendly and the locally produced food is fresh and flavorful. The Café features some Roanoke favorites such as ice cream treats from Homestead Dairy, coffee and tea from H&C Coffee and bagels from the Roanoke Bagel Company, as well as meats and cheeses from Boar’s Head and specialty desserts baked on site daily. The Café serves tasty offerings Monday through Friday from 7am – 5pm and Saturday from 10am – 5pm. Dine in the attractive café or dine out on the Gallery Patio knowing that your purchase at the 2nd Helpings Café will help provide meals for the homeless at the Rescue Mission.
Please visit them at http://www.2ndhelpings.org for more details.
There’s no other store like this one!
The Rescue Mission Thrift Store seeks with God’s help to serve our community by providing an affordable alternative or a supplement to regular retail shopping as well as a source of free clothing for families in need. Recycling usable goods, and helping preserve our environment are two of the ways the Thrift Store attempts to be good stewards.
When you shop at the Thrift Store, you’ll find “a little bit of this and a whole lot of that.”
Daily you will find great bargains on clothing of all styles and sizes, furniture, linens, dishes, lamps, household and kitchen items, books, jewelry, toys, etc. All purchases made at the Thrift Store help provide services for homeless families at the Rescue Mission.
The Thrift Store operates solely on donations. If you are cleaning out your closets, think of the Rescue Mission! If your store or business has returns or items you would like to donate, we can use those, too. If you have usable items at home or at work that you can no longer use, let us know!
Not only do proceeds from the sales of donated goods provide shelter, food, medical care, recovery program and educational classes, thanks to your generosity each year the Mission gives away over 17,000 items of clothing to families in need.
Clothing Voucher Program
Provided to all Recovery Program Participants and all Shelter guests as well as individuals and families in the community who are in need. If you or someone you know qualifies for social services and help is needed with clothing, please visit the Rescue Mission Lobby in the main building on Saturdays between 9am – 4pm to apply for a Clothing Voucher card. For more information on the Clothing Voucher Program, call 540.343.7227.
Home or Business Pick-ups
We receive donations on site from 9am – 5pm from Monday – Saturday at our Donation Center. We also do home pick-ups of good used items; please call 540.343.7227 to schedule a pick-up between 9am – 12pm and 1 – 5pm.
Textile Recycling Program
Even your rags can help the Rescue Mission help others. In 2011, 323,488 lbs. of rags were recycled, raising $58,674.46 for Mission programs. Clean, sorted clothing is sold on a world market by the Mission, providing an ecological way to dispose of clothing that is torn, stained or unwearable. Simply bag such items and label “rags.”