The Edmond Sun

Local News

March 7, 2014

Helping those who are overlooked

OKLA. CITY — With a projected cost of $4.2 million for a new Men’s Center at the City Rescue Mission, Edmond Memorial High School students are hoping they can raise enough money to complete the project.

The student-led Swine Week goal is $375,000 for Memorial’s annual fundraiser, which ends March 14.

Each year for the past 28 years, Memorial students have taken to the streets, completed dares, held assemblies, silent auctions, custom car shows and contacted businesses and residents in order to raise money for Swine Week.

To this point students have raised $3.5 million for charity, raising $353,011 for Limbs for Life in 2013. With three co-chairs, seniors Hallie Ball and Cole Brown and junior Molly Feigel, Swine Week activities are under way.

“Whenever the City Rescue Mission presented to the Student Council we saw how they help families and we realized that if we ever have to find a place to stay there is one,” Ball said. “If we meet our goal we realize that we will impact the homeless every year, not just this year. All of the people at the mission were so energetic and we love them and they love us.”


City Rescue Mission

With 32 paid staff members and more than 2,000 volunteers, City Rescue Mission President Tom Jones is responsible for day-to-day operations.

“Our volunteers include families, college students, groups, individuals and businesses,” Jones said, “and one of our partners, the Thunder Basketball team comes on a regular basis. They partner with us to serve meals and play games with the kids and read to them.”

Jones said he knew the mission was in the top five finalists and the Student Council called and said they wanted to take a tour of the facility since they were still in the decision-making process.

“The Stu Co members arrived with a huge bouquet of balloons and told us we had been chosen,” Jones said. “It was a big party day at the rescue mission all day long that day.”

Jones said the Memorial students have quite a reputation of being a great partner with nonprofits.

“For us, of course, we are so excited about the money they are raising and we already have a place for it, but connecting with the entire school and parents was huge for us,” Jones said. “I personally believe the more people that become aware of the plight of the homeless and destitute then we as a community can reach out and make a difference in their lives.”

At the City Rescue Mission the men, women, families and children are all under one roof. Jones said it takes a tremendous amount of oversight to make sure everyone is safe.

“A year and a half ago the board decided to build a new men’s center next door,” Jones said. “It would free up the 85,000-square-foot facility for more women, children and families.”

Memorial’s fundraising will finish paying for he new Men’s Center, which is now under construction and will open up 55 percent more space for families. Jones said there are upwards to 100 children each month living in the facility.

The City Rescue Mission provides three hot meals a day, clothing and everything clients need, he said. It also provides the state’s largest free alcohol and drug program, Bridge to Life, for drug and alcohol recovery, a school program for mothers where they can come and get their GED and leave their children in a day care on site.

“The mothers can go to technical school or nursing school so when they leave the mission they will be able to make a living wage for themselves and their children and not be dependent on another man,” Jones said. “We let them stay here until they can leave and be successful.”

Buses line up at 6:15 a.m. each morning to pick up the children and take them to their home school. Tutoring is provided after school. Volunteers come in and help the students get caught up with their school work.

The City Rescue Mission has 640 beds and is open 24 hours a day 365 days a year. It started in Bricktown when a group of Christian businessmen looked out and saw men digging through trash. The businessmen started a soup kitchen, then brought in bunk beds. “Word got out and it just blossomed into what it is,” Jones said.

More people come to the mission when it is very hot or very cold.

“We fed 350,000 meals last year, which does not include groceries for the near homeless,” he said. More than 2 million meals were provided for the near homeless last year.

City Rescue Mission receives no federal or state funding.

“Awareness is one of the greatest things that we can hope will happen,” Jones said of Swine Week. “We wouldn’t have been here for more than 50 years without the help of our community members. We value them for helping us meet the needs of those who get overlooked.”

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