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Springs Rescue Mission offers a way forward 

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click to enlarge SRM feeds the hungry for just 25 to 45 cents per meal. - COURTESY SPRINGS RESCUE MISSION
  • Courtesy Springs Rescue Mission
  • SRM feeds the hungry for just 25 to 45 cents per meal.

Springs Rescue Mission serves three classes of people: the working poor, the homeless and the addicted.

"We provide support and try to create a path forward for those who are seeking a way out of poverty, addiction and homelessness," SRM's community outreach director, Stu Davis, says.

SRM got its start working with men who are trying to rebuild their lives by conquering their addiction. At any given time, there are 40 to 50 men going through its residential addiction recovery program.

"It is a holistic pathway forward," Davis says. "It is a very intense program, not everyone who ends up enrolling ends up finishing the first time. It is one of those things that requires a lot from those who participate."

The program, which has been assisting individuals for 20 years, requires participants to commit to at least a year of physical, mental and spiritual growth that serves to move them away from addiction. "I think it takes a lot of courage to call a time out on your life for a whole year and set aside that time to put together some very broken pieces of your life," Davis says. "I really respect those men."

The nonprofit also serves the hungry, and has provided 150,000 meals out of its kitchen this year alone. According to Davis, a wholesome meal served at SRM runs them between 25 cents and 45 cents to produce. "It costs us pennies on the dollar to provide a warmer, healthier and more sustainable meal than it would cost someone you gave money to on the street corner to buy something unhealthy from McDonald's," he points out.

During the cold winter months, SRM houses the homeless; a stay includes a hot breakfast the following morning and usage of a dog kennel. This year, SRM has focused on a campus expansion, including a newly opened, $3.2 million, 168-bed shelter, which can also host another 32 floor mats.

Plans call for a day/resource center to open in 2017 and a larger kitchen and dining facility to come online in 2018, along with a new welcome center.

Though the city directed some federal dollars SRM's way, most of those additions will require donation dollars to come to fruition.

Last year's 10,000 collective nights of shelter have grown this year to 55,000. A total of 250 people are currently utilizing SRM's campus.

Morris notes that sometimes in order to provide its services, the charity must also build trust with its clients. He mentions a disabled man on the campus who has not left for over two years, while refusing to sleep inside.

"He obviously has some kind of substance abuse as well as personal abuse he has suffered," Davis says. "It has created a traumatic situation to which he believes if he leaves our campus, someone will kill him ... It has taken us a long time for him to trust us enough to even learn his name."

Davis says that in November, he got an email saying that the man had finally decided to stay in the shelter, where he's stayed every night since.

"It goes to show that sometimes it takes a long time for us to build trusting relationships with some of our guests," he says, "but it is finally getting to the point where some of these folks we have been building relationships with are letting us into their lives."

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