2019 was a year of great challenges at the Topeka Rescue Mission, from a drastic drop in donations to a host of resulting questions and worries on the part of our guests, staff and community. But 2019 was also a year of renewed vision and purpose for TRM and our community. In the midst of a myriad of discussions about budgets, funds, and what services we could and couldn’t continue to provide, one question kept coming to the forefront.
Do they matter?
Do the approximately 250-300 people sheltered by the Topeka Rescue Mission every night matter? Do the individuals who come to us for help in their darkest moments matter? How much do they matter? How much are they worth?
I’ll never forget the woman who came up to me last year, after we announced the drastic reduction in donations we had experienced and the resulting uncertainty of the Topeka Rescue Mission. She was staying at the Mission and enrolled in one of our programs, working hard to graduate and begin her new life. She looked up at me with tears in her eyes and asked simply,
“Do I matter?”
It was such a simple question, but it hit me like a punch in the gut. She truly didn’t know if she mattered or not. How would she know? She had been through so much in her life she had never even had the chance to be part of a stable home, family, or community. Would she get the chance to finish her program and take all the months she had spent with us - months of learning, resources and healing, and begin a brand new life? Or would she become another of the invisible homeless living on the street, just trying to survive one night to the next?
She went on to tell me that she had never mattered to anyone in her life before coming to the TRM, and she was scared of losing that sense of belonging and purpose. Like many of our guests, she was scared of what would happen to her if we closed our doors. She was scared of the physical consequences of going back to living on the street, but also the emotional and mental consequences of having no place she belonged, no stability or security in her life.
In the last months of 2019, her question was answered with a resounding YES, YOU MATTER. You showed her and countless others that they matter to the Topeka Rescue Mission and the community. By sharing your financial resources, your material possessions, your time and your prayers, you said, “YOU MATTER”. In 2019, you demonstrated what love looks like in action by helping us provide shelter to 2,108 different people, assistance to 2,270 households, and 430,596 meals. You showed us you’re willing to work to keep the Topeka Rescue Mission alive by providing 30,706 volunteer hours from 1,600 different volunteers.
In 2019 you helped countless men, women and children who had no place to go, no where else to turn, and no hope, to know that they matter, they are loved, and they have a purpose, a reason to be here, and hope for the future. We could not do this without you, and from all of us at the Topeka Rescue Mission - we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for saying with your actions, “YES THEY MATTER!”
As we have turned the page on another year, another decade at TRM, thank you for helping to keep hope alive for the many who will need you in 2020! †