Since 1894, Hope Rescue Mission has been helping men in Berks County have a place to sleep, something to eat, and get the help that they need. The organization offers four different residential programs for men to transition back into the world and become a productive member of society. They provide physical, emotional, and spiritual help for all of the homeless in the community and the greater Reading area.
“Hope Rescue Mission is a place to find the immediate physical needs that you have when life hits a critical point in crisis,” Executive Director Rob Turchi explains discussing the mission of Hope Rescue Mission.
At the mission, men come in when they absolutely need it most. For many, it’s like a last resort because they may have burned bridges between their family, friends, and those who’ve been in their lives. When they’re out of personal resources, men can come to the mission. In hard times, the mission offers them a place to sleep, somewhere to shower, three meals a day, and a variety of toiletries.
“If they come to the mission, then they’ve burned bridges elsewhere. It means they don’t have family or friends that are willing to take them in,” Turchi explained. “So, the mission is a temporary family, temporary home.”
Robert Turchi has been the Executive Director at Hope Rescue Mission for the past 11 years. In many ways, the mission has changed over the years that he’s been in the position.
In the 128 years that the mission has been open, their main goal has stayed the same; to feed the hungry, and shelter and clothe those in need. When Turchi first started, he was running the show. Always trying to make sure that everyone that walked through the mission doors got the help and support they needed.
“My role has really evolved. We’ve been able to up the mission up to the public, revitalize the facilities, and open our arms wide to volunteers that have brought in more support,” Turchi said. “Over the last several years, my role has developed into a fundraising role and focus. Also, I oversee the finances and our staff.”
Before they had professional staff, the men of the mission were the ones running the kitchen, the thrift store located out back, and more. Now, Turchi has brought in professional chefs, and many more professionals. By replacing the program’s participants with outside professional staff, it takes the pressure off of the men who are in the mission. These men can still volunteer with more appropriate roles under the professional staff.
“I’ve been able to develop the team and bring in specialized people. Like doctors, nurses, mental health providers and a professional chef.”
Turchi Say the public has many opportunities to get involved with the mission. At Hope Rescue Mission, they make it easy for volunteers to come in. By having volunteers, it brings in light and love through the facility. Students, families, and children of all ages come in and help serve meals for everyone that comes into the facility. Once people are more familiar with how the facility works, their skills and talents can be utilized throughout the mission.
“We try and make it an easy process for volunteers to come in,” said Volunteer Coordinator Jayme Eenigenburg. “They can contact us through our website to fill out a volunteer form, and then, I’ll get them set up!”
Although Hope Rescue Mission only sleeps men in their dormitories, they’re in the works of building a new division called “Lighthouse”. Lighthouse will be a women and children’s shelter.
As for right now, women and children are welcome to come to the mission to get a hot meal, take a shower, get clothing from the thrift store, and any toiletries that they may need. Starting in the summer, construction for the new shelter will being.
“The Lighthouse Shelter will consisted of private suites. We want to be able to keep families together, so that the mom and the children can have a private space of their own” said Turchi.