Rescue work only works when the community works together!

Rescue work only works when the community works together!

This piece was guest authored by O’Nealya Gronstal, Director of Community Engagement at Wheeler Mission.

It started as a post in my neighborhood’s private Facebook group.

I was sharing with my neighbors a need we had at Wheeler, and I ended the post with what has become my mantra: Rescue work only works when the community works together.

As Director of Community Engagement, I have the honor of educating the community on Wheeler’s needs. Even further, how individuals, churches, and organizations can invest time, talent, and treasure to make lasting impact on the lives of the people entrusted in our care. Whether it is securing men’s winter coats, children’s pajamas, donations from local restaurants to feed our staff and volunteers at events, or meeting with local pastors or business and community leaders to discuss ways their organizations can support us better, I have come to believe that we simply cannot do what we do without the community working together!

Many times, we receive platitudes praising us for the work we do—these kind words and encouragement help our front-line staff get through the hard, exhausting days! But it’s my desire to take those platitudes and appreciation and turn them into ownership.

Homelessness is not an issue for Wheeler Mission to solve. It is an issue for all of us—regardless of our resources, address, or skill set—to embrace and own together.

Here are some ideas to get started!

Have a skill set that can transfer into a needed life or job skill? Teach cooking or computer classes, or help a guest write a resume.

Own a business? Provide budget relief with financial support or tangible operating needs. Involve your customers in a needs drive. Let your network know you care for the vulnerable and put your resources and influence where your heart is.

Serve on a mission or outreach committee at your church? Support Wheeler as your local mission. Bring your youth group to Wheeler for a week-long, inexpensive, local mission trip; it will be life changing for your students! Let your congregation experience the mission field in their backyards.

Have a large network of friends and associates? Find out our most current needs and host a needs drive to meet the basic needs of our guests.

Licensed plumber, construction worker, HVAC specialist, electrician? We need you! Our buildings are old and give us fits every now and again. If you are licensed and can volunteer your services when we have unexpected emergencies or small projects, we’ll put you on a list of who we can call!

Work in a restaurant or company or school cafeteria? Talk to your management about reducing food waste by donating food to our kitchens. Or grab a few coworkers and sign up for our Share-A-Meal program!

Wheeler Mission is 100% donor dependent and serves more than 800 guests every night. The average gift we receive is $63, and every penny raised allows us to do what we do. But we simply cannot do it without the community working together! To do this thing we call “rescue work,” we need business owners, skilled laborers, community leaders—folks like you and me! Now…let’s get started!

If you’re ready to use your influence, special skill, or resources to serve Wheeler Mission, email O’Nealya today. She’ll connect you with our volunteer staff to get you started!