Archived Story

Downtown Rescue Mission in need of donations

Published 12:36pm Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Kevin Marsh, senior director of operations for the Downtown Rescue Mission, has nothing but praise for the community’s support since the tornados swept through the area.

But at this time, the Mission is in especially great need of monetary donations.

Their air conditioning unit which cooled about 70 percent of their facilities was vandalized and, as a result, was destroyed.  

“We haven’t had air conditioning in our building for nearly two months,” Marsh said. “We’ve been through this great big heat wave with no air for about 70 percent of the building.”

This part of the building, formerly West Minster, was built in 1963. It is the building where residents sleep.

Marsh said they have done everything they can to keep residents cool.

The reason they have been without air conditioning for so long is because the unit has to be manufactured. It should be coming in June 7 or 8.

“In addition to that, when the power did come back up after the storm, we found some electrical problems within the electrical service that feeds that same building that’s not air conditioned,” Marsh explained. “And we are now under mandate from the city inspection department to completely redo all the electrical service in the building.”

Combined with the air conditioning upgrade, this is about a $300,000 expense.

“Of that, we got about $50,000 or so from our insurance company, and that’s all they’re going to do,” Marsh said.

He explained the city has given them about 90 days to get the electrical update completed.

“It’s something we knew we would have to do at some point in time,” Marsh said. “We were just hoping that we could hold off until we had the money to do it.”

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Another way to help out the Mission is through volunteering.

“We actually had volunteers every day of the power outage,” Marsh said. “We were actually kind of surprised, to be honest with you. We still had folks show up for breakfast at 5 o’clock in the morning. So it was a blessing for us to have that.”

Many employees put in extra hours to make sure people at the Mission were taken care of.

“I personally, along with the head of food service, actually lived at the Mission myself for a few days just to make sure everything was taken care of,” Marsh said. “Because when you’ve got 200 folks in the dark, it’s a little different than having 200 folks with power on.”

He said during the outage, water and ice were brought in from all over the place. The National Guard even donated dry ice to the Mission.

Donations typically drop off during the summer months. Aside from during the recent tornados, this summer has been no exception.

“It’s always this way, to be real honest with you,” Marsh explained. “Food donations drop off, monetary donations drop off. It’s an overall kind of global downturn during this time of year.”

As for ways the community can help, Marsh said the Mission is always in need of canned goods. Aside from the work they do at the Mission itself, they hand out 100 to 150 bags of groceries monthly to people of the community who don’t actually live at the Mission.

“The volunteers, particularly the week of the tornado, but always, always are such a huge blessing to us,” Marsh said. “There’s times that we couldn’t make it without their help. We have volunteers that help serve meals, we have volunteers that help sort donations, we have volunteers that even come and clean restrooms for us. They’re really awesome, and we are very appreciative.”

If interested in volunteering, call (256) 536-2441 ext. 316.

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