Conversations at Connect: Joanna talks about the power of a meal

IMG_8356For Joanna, a consistent meal at Portland Rescue Mission changes everything. A meal can be a start to a changed life. At the Burnside Shelter, Joanna found more than food, she found her value as a person.

Q: How would you describe what the Mission has done for you?

A: “I’ve been helped greatly. You underestimate how much a safe place to stay and a warm meal to eat … how it really stabilizes you.

“When you first become homeless you’re fluctuating, it’s overwhelming, honestly. A lot of people have a bad misconception about us, that we are dirty and we all have some kind of criminal record or something that just makes it hard to hire … If you bring up that you’re homeless up in an interview, per say, it’s automatically shut off … People complain that we don’t get a job and then they aren’t willing to give us a job”

Q: How does receiving a meal give you hope?

A: “If you’re not worrying about that pain in your stomach, you have the opportunity to go do what you need to do … You can focus on getting a job or into housing … If you don’t have money, you have to walk everywhere, and when you are walking everywhere and you don’t have food, it wears on you.

“At least, if you have a meal you have something to energize you for the day. Even if it’s maybe just one meal a day–at least it’s one meal that you didn’t have before, and it’s consistent …

“To have one thing or a few things that are consistent, it kind of builds a structure. It’s like building blocks … something to build your start off.”

IMG_8346_2Q: How would you express your gratefulness to the people who support The Mission?

A: “Just keep it up. Honestly, this is one of the best places I’ve found out here … you feel like you are a dirty piece of garbage because they [others] distance themselves from you–like you would a puppy that comes in and has fleas on it. You are just a disgusting creature. But then I came here and I felt like … I’m a human being.

“Here, I don’t feel like I’m trash … I’m taken care of. These are people that have my back, people that don’t see me as this dirty homeless person. I’m a human being that just needs a little help.”

The Connect Ministry, a vital part of our Pathway Ministries, can serve up to 52 men and women. (Read more about Connect here). Thank you for your support of Portland Rescue Mission and for helping us give hope and restore life.