Lehigh Valley

Proof Positive: Allentown Rescue Mission

Proof Positive: Allentown Rescue Mission

ALLENTOWN, Pa. - A small staff takes care of the Allentown Rescue Mission's daily operations, including an emergency shelter and a live-in transitional program for homeless men.

"We take them from a homeless situation all the way through our programs and services back to the community," explained Executive Director Gary Millspaugh. "And they're not homeless anymore."

In 2011 about 760 men came in off the street and took advantage of the overnight emergency shelter. Close to 150 went through the in-house 8 week program. The Rescue Mission helps the men learn workplace skills and even gives them a paid position on it's Clean Team.

"The ultimate goal is that we can get him back in the community, self reliant and employed living in his own housing," said Millspaugh.

The Mission is almost entirely dependent on donations to keep its doors open. In fact donations make up 80% of the Rescue Mission's budget. They can be cash, non perishable food, even cleaning supplies.

"Trash bags, paper products like paper towels, spray cleaners," added Millspaugh. "As well as non perishable foods like peanut butter and canned meats, and breakfast cereals and things like that."

And volunteering is a vital piece of the puzzle. Folks giving up their time and talents save the organization funds that could go to help local men. One way to help is coming in to cook, serve and clean up one of the daily meals.

"We get a lot of offers for people to serve Thanksgiving dinner and Christmas dinner, but the other 363 days we hardly get an offer ever for people to come in and do a meal."

You could also help out with office and paper work, or cleaning and maintenance in spring. There's always regular work that needs to get done.

"The real help for charities like the Rescue Mission is a small amount of time delivered consistently on the same kinds of help," shared Millspaugh. "That really does the most good."

There are also several big projects throughout the year where you can pitch in. The Rescue Mission has a yearly Thanks For Giving Food and Supplies Drive and a huge spaghetti dinner.

You will need to submit an application and fill out some forms to volunteer, but the Rescue Mission is always looking for helping hands.

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