History

A Lasting Legacy of Hope

John and Tress Van Diest

John and Tress Van Diest

Founded in 1949 by John Van Diest Sr., Portland Rescue Mission opened its doors as the “John 3:16 Mission.” From its earliest days of ministry, the words of that verse of salvation and hope have been at the heart and soul of our motivation for service: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son…”

John Van Diest Sr. started humbly serving with the limited resources he had, purchasing groceries himself to make a pot of soup to share with hungry men. Afterwards, he would share with them about God’s love.

Since then, the Portland Rescue Mission has had a tireless commitment to breaking the cycle of homelessness, addiction and despair in the lives of hurting people in need.

Today, we still offer emergency services of food and shelter at our original downtown location at the Burnside Shelter. And we’ve expanded those services to include 24/7 restrooms, showers, clothing, mail service, referrals and community activities in the Guest Care Center.

Thanks to generous community support, we’ve expanded our ministry to include a wide range of programs designed to meet a hurting person at their point of need and help them toward their journey home. This includes our 3-month Connect program for men and women, and our New Life Ministries for men and women at The Harbor and Shepherd’s Door, respectively.

Portland Rescue Mission also includes our Drive Away Hunger car sales and donations program and Mission Bar-B-Que catering. Proceeds support all of our programs to give hope and restore life to hurting people in need.

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