Indiana Wesleyan University students and staff are seeking to make their vision of partnering with the Grant County Rescue Mission a reality by providing regular volunteers.
On Nov. 11, Beckett and South Hall chaplains hosted a service day to the Rescue Mission, in which around 40 students attended. While there, 15 students helped at the Mission Mart and 25 helped at the main shelter.
“At different times my classes will go to the Rescue Mission, but this one was even bigger than that, it was South Hall as well as Beckett,” said Jim Lo, IWU professor and member of the Grant County Rescue Mission board.
The service day was only the beginning of a more expansive plan. In the future, the plan is to send teams of volunteers every night during the semester.
“The chaplains decided that they wanted their residents to become involved in the community, and not just be focused on the IWU population,” Lo said. “We don’t want people just to go there for a one-time experience, we really want people to find ways in which they can go back on a regular basis to serve that community of people.”
The Rescue Mission is in need of volunteers to work in the kitchen and sort donated items for the Mission Mart. The Mission serves three meals a day and on average feeds 50 people per day.
“They need more volunteers mostly in the kitchen and then to interact with the people at the shelter, to develop that relationship and to show them Christ-like love is the goal,” said Thomas Barton, the chaplain of South Hall.
The main goal is for the Rescue Mission to be constantly staffed.
“If we could consistently provide them volunteers eight or nine months out of the year that would be great,” Barton said.
Along with the meeting more practical needs, IWU students plan to establish small groups for discipleship.
“Hopefully as the program expands there will be too many people for it to be a small group, and I would love to see discipleship groups forming,” said Cody Mahaffy, a christian ministries major who is leading the discipleship branch of the program.
The intent behind the partnership is to live out the Christian call to have a social concern for the world around them.
“In all my classes I try to get that message across, being a Christian is not just a self-focused thing but it’s an other-focused thing as well,” Lo said.
The leaders of the project hope to get as many students as possible involved.
“The goal down the road is that there is a partnership between IWU and the Grant County Rescue Mission that keeps happening every year and every semester,” Barton said.