We’ve said it before: homelessness is too big a problem and God’s love too big a solution for the work of Inner City Mission to be contained inside a homeless shelter. ICM is reaching out into the community in a variety of ways, from increased cooperation and coordination with other agencies, to educational outreach.
The expertise that goes into this effort often comes from the outside our walls as well. For this month’s ICM e-News we thought we’d take the time to highlight just a few of the many people who come alongside Inner City Mission in support of our commitment to helping the homeless, but whose names you won’t see listed on our website staffing page.
Speaking of our website staffing page…we wouldn’t have one if not for Matt, the creative director for Front Porch Creative--a local design and branding studio that caters solely to churches and ministries. Matt built our new site and created our home/heart/cross logo. He also handles design and distribution of this newsletter.
"I spent over seventeen years in local church ministry," Matt says, "but I wouldn't say I knew much about homelessness. I simply wanted to help ICM made a good first impression as it reached out to its partners and supporters. As we began working with ICM, I saw a ministry that strives to bring real life change to its residents. That was exciting to me.
"ICM has an amazing story to tell. I am honored to be able to come alongside Scott and the team to help share that message. My goal is to help ICM reach as many people as possible, allowing them to see a dynamic ministry with which they can partner."
Would you think retail experience would prepare someone for homeless ministry? Bobbi Reddix worked for years at Goodys. Then she found New Beginnings Thrift Shoppe in Lincoln, Illinois, and thought, “I’d love to work here!” She recently took over as store manager, and the unique, eclectic little shop is thriving!
New Beginnings Thrift Shoppe does more than provide low cost alternatives to expensive purchases. It is the fundraising arm and public face of Genesis Ministries Project, a non-profit partner to ICM. Bobbi knows that by helping the store meet its potential, she is integral to a crucial ministry.
“The sort of work Inner City Mission does in Springfield really needs to be expanded into Lincoln,” Bobbi says. “We have a women’s prison right here in town, and the women coming out of that need support so they can rebuild their lives and stay out. Genesis sees helping women and their children as our primary purpose, and we’re glad to partner with Inner City Mission in that effort.”
Larry is a graphic designer with a heart for the homeless. He came on board with ICM about six years ago, and has designed many of our promotional materials, including our “Miles of Smiles” brochure, and the “Stability Project” booklet. Larry also works for some of our sister ministries, and does much of the writing for this e-Newsletter. He operates under the business name of Midwest Journey Services.
“Scott Payne (ICM executive director) came to our church to give a talk about Inner City Mission,” Larry says. “I’d just embarked on a second career as a journalist, and I had been profiling people in the Springfield community for the Illinois Times. I decided to write a profile on Scott.
“When I first stepped into the ICM lodge I was so impressed…my idea of a homeless shelter came from TV: a barracks full of cots and bearded men in Army jackets. This was a home. There were so many children at ICM, safe and happy, who otherwise would be in dire straits. Of course I wanted to help others to see this reality. I’m blessed to be working with this ministry.”
With so much riding on computer programs and Internet access these days, it helps to have computers at our offices that actually work. We reached and even surpassed that milestone several years ago, when we contacted Doug at his company, PCMD of Central Illinois.
Doug first learned technical skills working on the instrument panels of F16 jet while in the Air Force. He later did IT work for his department at Wells Fargo, while building computers as a hobby in his home. Finally, he stepped out in faith to start his own company.
“I began working with ICM not long after that. They needed to keep their computers operating, but at the same time didn’t have a lot of money to put into it. I was happy to help from the start because that is my business, but when I got know the people--the residents and the staff--I realized I was taking part in something really important. Growing up, I had people in my family that had to deal with homelessness, so I know it is important work.”
ICM says, “Amen to that!”
Get involved with our residents today!
We're giving praise to God for these great things happening recently:
Stacy was baptized!
Chris got a job
Jill obtained secure housing and is currently in management training at her job. She has handled this transition well and plans to come back to ICM to volunteer!
Two residents began working
Graduation time is coming, and not just for the kids. In May, you will meet some of our current residents and staff who have committed over time to increasing their knowledge, skill, and marketability. Now, they have reached a milestone. What better testimony to the work of Christ in the lives of the homeless than to see the pride of accomplishment in their faces!