Cooking Up Hope
I was angry. I was enraged at a world that was too strict, a world with too many unfair rules — a world that didn't treat me the way I felt I deserved.
I grew up in a poor rural family that worked the fields of Mississippi. My stepfather would never let me go anywhere or do anything. No friends, no sports, nothing. If I wasn't in school, I had to work the fields — and it made me mad.
I had to get out. So after high school, I joined the military, but it only got worse — do this — do that and my anger grew. I started drinking to escape. Then I started fighting. It got so bad, they finally kicked me out. I didn't care. I just kept drinking. But when I discovered crack, that's when it all really fell apart. In three years, I lost a marriage, job, home, everything. Everything but drugs and alcohol. And the worse it got, the more I hated a world that I felt treated me so unfairly. I stayed that way until I ended up homeless in Milwaukee in 2003.
In 2008, my brother brought me to the Milwaukee Rescue Mission. I had no other option. And it changed my life. Here, I learned that the world was not the problem, I was. My life was a mess because of me. And only God, through Jesus Christ, could change it. When I gave Jesus all my anger, hurt and pain, He healed me.
It only got better from there. God blessed me with the chance to work as a cook here at the Milwaukee Rescue Mission for the past 10 years. Today, I still have the extraordinary privilege of serving hurt women and men, just like I once was. I know these people, I know their pain and anger. But I get to offer them a good meal, hope and the chance to encounter God in this place.
My life is good. I wouldn't trade it for anything. I'm a child of God. And it's donors like you who made it all possible. I pray, this holiday season, God blesses you for that.
At Christmas, Caring People Like You Make All The Difference!
Every holiday season, generous and caring people like you are a true blessing to the many men, women and children at the Milwaukee Rescue Mission. Your time, money, gifts and prayers are Christ's love in action for these very precious people. This Christmas, let's make it another one they'll never forget!
Last Christmas, your gifts made it possible for us to serve a special holiday dinner to all our families in Joy House and men in our Safe Harbor Program.
Thanks to you, last year, more than 200 special holiday food baskets were distributed to families have been through our programs and are now independently!
Last Christmas, children in need received toys, games and stuffed animals, thanks to caring people like you.
Your generosity enabled us to deliver hundreds of new hats, gloves, scarves and other clothing to struggling men, women and children.
Every Child Deserves a Christmas Gift!
This Christmas season, we're counting on friends like you to help provide new, unwrapped gifts for hundreds of children in our community. Please drop off toys and gift items for infants through teens at the Milwaukee Rescue Mission.
Where: 830 N. 19th Street, Milwaukee, WI 53233
When: Mon. – Sat. 8 a.m. – 8 p.m. by December 7
What: $10 minimum value, please.
For more information, call (414) 344–2211
Our Christmas Wish List
- New toys for children (infants to teens)
- Watches & jewelry
- Soaps & loofahs
- Women's robes & slippers
- Gift cards
- Wrapping paper, gift bags and tissue paper — we need enough to wrap hundreds of gifts!
You're Going To Be Alright
Jenise vividly remembers that day in 2015: She was riding a bus, overwhelmed with fear and hopelessness. She had been diagnosed with uterine cancer, and she didn't know if she would survive. And what would
happen to her 10-year-old daughter? Then she saw him — a complete stranger moving directly toward her.
“I was coming from a doctor's appointment. I thought I was going to die,” she recalls. “I didn't want to talk to anyone. I was terrified this man was going to talk to me. And he did.”
The man looked her in the eye and simply said, “God says it's going to be OK. You're going to be alright.”
Jenise never thought much about God before. She struggled her whole life, feeling alone, unable to make ends meet, and hopeless that her life could ever get better. Then she had to deal with cancer. But when she heard the man's message, she realized for the first time, someone cared. God cared.
“She miraculously survived the cancer, but continued to struggle in her life. When she ended up homeless, she came to Joy House. She credits Joy House with giving her the tools she needed to transform her life. The love
and care she found here gave her the courage to connect more with others. She's even in college, studying business. But she says the most important thing is that she's learning more about Jesus and how to trust Him for everything.
“As a donor, you gave me food and clothes,” Jenise says. “But what you really gave me was hope. You gave me a vision for what my life could be. And you gave me the chance to raise my daughter on a foundation of Jesus Christ.”
With the holiday season just around the corner now, it seems like everywhere I go, I hear Christmas songs: “I'll be home for Christmas” … “There's no place like home for the holidays” … “It's the most wonderful time of the year.”
For most of us, including me, it is the most wonderful time of year, isn't it? But it's not for many hurting men, women and children who have no home for the holidays. For them, it can be the saddest time of the year. Every day is a reminder of everything that's gone wrong in their lives. And it's hard to escape the feeling that no one cares.
But you and I do care. More importantly, God loves them so much, He sent His only Son that first Christmas so that He could redeem them. And with the love of Jesus Christ, you and I can show them love, too. All year-round, we embrace every man, woman and child who comes to the Milwaukee Rescue Mission with Christ's love and compassion. Christmas gives us a unique opportunity to show that love and compassion in a special way.
That's why your support is so important. You're providing meals, shelter, clothing, education, job training and so much more to hurting men, women and children who may have nowhere else to turn. Through your generosity, they know how much you care. For many, coming through the doors of MRM may be the first time they feel welcomed. It may be the first time they're surrounded by love and encouragement, and maybe the first time they feel it just might be possible to experience a “Merry” Christmas!
This holiday season, you will help the Milwaukee Rescue Mission serve more than 44,524 meals to hurting men, women and children. But you'll provide more than food. You'll remind our hurting neighbors that they are loved.
Thank you … and Merry Christmas!
I thank God for you,