When I tell people I meet that I work for an organization that provides 3,500 meals to hungry people and beds for over 1,500 homeless men, women and children each day, I am often humbled by their response. They thank me for the work I am doing and treat me like I am a saint. Hear me when I say this: I care deeply about all the people we help.
But believe me when I say I am privileged to do the work I do and see the things I see every day. This is especially true when I think of the literally thousands of people whose names and faces by choice will never be known for the part they play in changing lives with us.
On behalf of Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries, I would like to publicly express our deep gratitude to the 49,000 financial supporters and 8,300 volunteers who responded in the last year to the needs of the poor and homeless men, women and children in the metro Detroit community. They have faithfully sent money and volunteered their time and talents at a time when help was really needed.
In fact, the need seems greater than ever. Michkgan’s General Assistance programs, which exist to help the poorest of the poor, are available to fewer people and offer less cash assistance, despite an increase in need resulting from the recession. Even Temporary Cash Asistance for Needy Families (TANF) benefits, which are available to low-income families with children, leave families well below the poverty line. At the new rate of 23%, the number of children living in poverty in Michigan has more than doubled.
In 2011 in Michigan, more than 552,000 children wre eligible for summer food programs, based on their family’s annual income. The State’s Department of Education figures indicate more than 30,000 school-aged children will become homeless at least once next year, based on last year’s experience. Caseloads for State Department of Human Services staff have skyrocketed to between 350 and 800 per worker. And in order to afford a two-bedroom apartment and meet basic living expenses, the average person needs to make at least $18.44 per hour in wages. Some of our donors are not much better off financially than those we help. Almost all have seen their taxes increase. Yet they still help those in need.
It is because of supporters like ours that we at Detroti Rescue Mission Ministries are more committed than ever before. We will continue to innovate and develop programs to meet the growing needs of people. Programs for the homeless and addicted, as well as for those who need jobs, sober housing, recreation and youth activities. We will also do all we can to take on the needs of those who have been displaced from welfare and take them to a place where they can “fare well.”
With the help of our excellent, collaborative partners and the sacrifice and talents of people like our donors and talented volunteers, our clients may face struggles; However, they will know they are not alone. Fifty-seven thousand saints have given of their money and talents to help them succeed. Thank you!