As a member of the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions, we offer three shelter programs: a 21-day shelter with food, clothing, and medical services; a four-month work program if employed; or a one-year Discipleship Program that provides a variety of programs and services holistically designed to meet the mental, physical, social, and spiritual needs of the people we serve. Last year the Mission served 2,342 unique men and women.
Meal Service at the Mission reduces food insecurity in the community. New Orleans had a 20.6% food insecure rate in 2015, which translates to 295.285 people. More than 368,000 pounds of food was distributed into the community last year; as a soup kitchen, the Mission served 276,000 meals. Doors are open to any one for lunch and dinner 7 days a week. Holiday events are always open to the community for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. More than 1000 toys were distributed to children at Christmas. Disaster Relief was a big focus for food service during the past year. We partnered with the Red Cross last February and prepared 7580 hot meals for victims of the tornado in Laplace; this past March, we prepared 6000 hot meals for victims of another tornado. In September, outreach teams made five site visits to the Baton Rouge area to distribute supplies, groceries, and cases of bottled water to flood victims. At each site, our food service team set up hot meals that were grilled on site, totaling 2500 meals to victims in Central, Denham Springs, and Baker.
Recovery: The Mission's onsite Medical clinic is provided by LSU and Tulane's medical students with a doctor onsite three days each week offering primary care to almost 1300 patients last year who received TB and HIV tests, flu vaccines, and treatment for colds, flu, Diabetes, high blood pressure, and Bronchitis. Our eye clinic is run by Dr. Sibley on Wednesdays who has treated more than 600 patients. Free cataract surgery has been performed on three patients who went from legally blind to 20/20 vision. Christian counseling and spiritual enlightenment is helping addicts heal from long term substance abuse. The north shore police agencies are partnering with us on a program called the Angel Project. This enables addicts to walk into a station and ask for help without fearing jail. They drop off people at the Retreat or the Mission to detox and get the support they need to take control back from the power of the addiction.. Substance abuse is one of the top three causes of homelessness; 58% of addicts die from opioids verses 21% that die from an overdose of illicit drugs. Once an addiction takes hold of a person's life, it can overwhelm them and destroys everything they hold dear. We have found the most effective course of action to overcome any addiction is through a faith-based long-term counseling program like the one offered in our Discipleship Program.
RE-engagement: Our re-engagement component is a transitional period for graduates that sets us apart from other agencies helping the homeless. For some, graduation is a celebration of freedom--taking back control of their life that was held hostage during years of substance abuse. Families are being reconnected. Others sense a calling to ministry and join our Master's program for another year of service while honing skills of leadership. Our graduates are encouraged to set goals and create a plan that will maximize their employment potential and provide a sustainable future. Getting a job at minimum wage will not secure their future or get them affordable housing; therefore, graduates receive an option to remain at the Mission or Retreat for up to six months while they receive vocational training, spiritual mentoring, job readiness training, resume development, computer classes, and GED/HISET classes. The focus is for them to build fundamental skills that include academic skills, technical skills, social skills, work ethics, interpersonal skills, and team building skills.
Disciples are able to participate in Divine Staffing after ninety days, which has expanded from lawn care to landscaping and irrigation systems, construction, commercial clean-up, demolition, car-washing, and recycling unneeded clothing. Many of the men who have worked with Divine Staffing have left the Mission with up to $10,000 in savings. Last year we washed over 100,000 cars on lots of auto dealerships and serviced 2,100 lawns for commercial and residential clients. Revenue received from these clients supplements the Mission's incoming donations, provides income and job skills for disciples, and quality work at affordable prices to clients in the community. Lovely Creations provides a way for female disciples to focus their creative talents into a productive activity that will provide income to the ladies while training them how to create a home-based business or become an entrepreneur. Our objective is for each women to see her value and natural talents while participating together making seasonal salable wreaths It's an opportunity for the women to have some fun and be part of a production team while learning a craft that can generate income for them.
Mission Media Productions is one of the newest and extremely successful segments of our Re-engagement component. Formerly homeless men who graduated the Discipleship Program are engaged in photo shoots, creating content for social media, and accepting contracts for documentaries. Our lead editor, had a natural passion for photography that has led him to continued education in the film-making process, which has raised his skill level exponentially. Today his skill set is comparable to many professional videographers, editors and photographers.
The New Orleans Mission receives no government funding and depends on the caring nature of local residents, businesses, civic groups, churches, foundation grants and special fundraisers like GiveNolaDay to maintain Mission operations and continue expanding programs and services needed to meet the diverse needs of today's homeless society.
Watch videos of a couple of our Disciples' testimonies.