My day spent volunteering at the Lima Rescue Mission was an eye-opening experience. Homelessness is not just a problem in the major cities, but also in smaller cities like Lima, Ohio, with a population of only 37,000.
At Marketing Essentials, one of our benefits includes a Pay It Forward day that allows employees to get paid 8 hours for volunteer work. I used my Pay It Forward time this year to help collect donations, do laundry and prepare Bible study for the Lima Rescue Mission.
During my visit, I observed the great generosity of the city of Lima toward the mission with food and clothing donations. However, the one resource that the Mission is certainly missing is people. “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few.” This passage from the book of Matthew rings true for the Lima Rescue Mission.
Who the Lima Rescue Mission Serves
The Lima Rescue Mission provides physical and spiritual care to men in the city of Lima. Most of the men who come through the mission are transients from bigger cities like Detroit and Chicago.
With Lima being situated right along I-75, it is an easy stopping place for men seeking short-term help and a place to stay. The men are provided a bed to sleep in and served breakfast and dinner daily. Showers, towels, toiletries, snacks and many other things also are available for the men.
Chapel services are held daily, and Bible studies and classes are offered multiple times a week. Along with overnight shelter, transitional housing is provided for low-income individuals.
The Work of the Lima Rescue Mission
Each summer, the Mission puts on a Summer Day Camp for Lima youth at Camp Roberts in Shawnee Township. Many of these children come from broken homes and this camp, which consists of a lodge, chapel, swimming pool, nature trails and recreation fields, provides a safe haven for these at-risk youth. Unfortunately, the camp was canceled this year due to a lack of volunteers.
Additionally, the Mission lacks help in its kitchen. Colleen Ferguson, the Office Manager and wife of the Executive Director, Chuck Ferguson, cooks and serves meals each day to those in need. They are desperately seeking to employ a part-time cook to assist Colleen in meal preparation.
The mission has been in Colleen’s family for generations. In fact, she and her husband live and work at the Mission full-time.
Another area of need at the Mission is chapel services. Throughout the week, various churches and speakers volunteer to give a message at 7 p.m. The Mission is also now struggling to find volunteers for these 7 p.m. services during the week.
On a positive note, Jacob Fenters, the Service Coordinator at the Mission, did say they receive so many donations from various businesses and organizations in Lima that they have to turn away some items – a good problem to have indeed.
History of the Mission
The Lima Rescue Mission was founded in 1906 by Reverend Adam Welty, Colleen Ferguson’s grandfather.
In May 1914, the Mission outgrew the house they were renting in Lima and bought the land at the current location at the corner of Central and Wayne streets.
In 1952, Adam Welty’s son, Reverend James Welty, was named Executive Director and served until 2008. In 1998, Chuck Ferguson was named Executive Director and continues to serve to this day.
Along with my recent day volunteering at the Mission in Lima, I previously volunteered at the Good News Rescue Mission in Indianapolis where I’m from. The need is just the same in Lima as in Indy. There is work needing to be done to combat homelessness and poverty in many, many communities across our nation! I encourage you to volunteer today at an organization near you.
How to Help
To volunteer at the Lima Rescue Mission, visit the website’s volunteer page or call Chuck Ferguson at 419-224-6961 ext 201. You can also make a monetary donation online at https://give.limamission.org/general.