There is a problem occurring in the United States night after night, one not far from home. Members of the Topeka Rescue Mission made an appearance Tuesday, Oct. 6, at Washburn University to help educate students about homelessness.
Mission guests Evelyn and Betty, who declined to give their last names, and David Prophet, a mission volunteer coordinator who has experienced homelessness firsthand, explained why it is a problem that should not be shunned or debunked but rather grasped by Americans. All shared their previous experiences. Even though these three individuals had drug problems, it was stated that not all those who suffer from homelessness are involved with drugs.
“Some people are just plain on the bad side of luck,” said Evelyn.
Although these individuals have faced hardships that others can only dream about, all were optimistic when speaking about their temporary home, the Topeka Rescue Mission.
“I am not trying to elaborate or anything like that but it is an awesome place,” said Evelyn. “Most people after I say that are like, ‘What?’ But it truly is a great place with great people.”
Since the mission was opened in 1953 by four local Topeka businessmen, it has relocated three times, with its final destination in North Topeka on Kansas Avenue. The current shelter was built in 1991 and can house any amount of people.
“We will never turn anyone away unless they have given us previous reason to,” said Prophet. “As long as there is floor space and mattresses, you have a place to stay.”
The facility is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Other branches of the mission include a thrift store where all proceeds are used to support the mission. There are hundreds of opportunities for community members to help out in any of the multiple divisions of the mission. With the holiday season approaching volunteers are especially needed, but aid is valued all times of the year.
A story was told about how a woman comes in every year after Christmas Day and gives foot rubs to all the members of the mission. This is one act that greatly impacts the guests of the mission.
“It makes us all feel like individuals,” said Evelyn. “The one thing we want to get across is that we are people, too. We are the same as you, we are just at a different point in our lives.”
To start making a difference visit www.trmonline.org for volunteer opportunities as well as www.nationalhomeless.org.