Albany, N.Y- On a beautiful Friday afternoon in Fall, the Capital City Rescue Mission welcomed the MASH team to their Headquarters in Downtown Albany- and a warm welcome it was.
After donating over 250 articles of clothing that UAlbany students contributed, the MASH team was given a depthful and awe-inspiring 45-minute tour of the 160,000 square foot complex by the extraordinary Perry Jones, Director and Pastor of CCRM.
The tour kicked off by showing the team emergency shelters which can host the homeless for up to 90 days, or more if necessary.
"It always smells fresh in here, all sheets are cleaned every day and residents are given clean pajamas to sleep in, so they don't have to sleep in their street clothes. Residents have access to washers and dryers as well," said Jones.
Jones then brought the team to the dining hall, which serves 700-800 meals a day, including breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
In addition, The Rescue Mission conveniently provides its residents with a fully functional pharmacy, with a wide inventory of prescription and over the counter medicines.
"This is open to anybody who doesn't have health insurance, including students. All medicine is free, we do not charge anybody one dime ever. We want to treat everyone," stated Jones.
On top of this, residents can say goodbye to their rotten old clothes and say hello to an entirely new wardrobe.
"Tuesday through Friday, 8,000 articles of clothing are given out to the poor, the needy and even students. We have volunteers help sort all of these clothes. Around 2,000 articles have to be sorted every day and tagged, and we give out about 480,000 articles a year. We do not charge people a dime for any of it, because after all it was given to us for free."
MASH and The Rescue Mission encourages students to take a little bit of time during their week to help sort some of the countless amounts of clothes that need to be sorted, tagged and hung up. It is great community service.
In addition to this, homeless are allowed to stay at The Rescue Mission for up to three years as members of a recovery program. More independent living situations like suites are available which have their own living rooms, kitchens, and bathrooms.
During their time, residents can earn their GED, become acquainted with certain trades, and compete on the Rescue Mission Softball Team, which is "Undefeated", Jones touted with a smile.
As if the complex was not big enough, Jones is adding onto it with more services for the needy, like kid's rooms, extra classrooms, and much more.
Most of the help that is provided with its construction comes from volunteers, not outsourced to building companies.
Jones encourages that students come and volunteer during their free time to help with basic construction. It does not matter if you have no knowledge in construction, a quick crash course will be provided.
After the tour, the MASH team and Tiran Koren cannot wait to return.
“I first met Mr. Jones in social entrepreneurship class a couple weeks ago, and I knew right away that MASH could and should contribute to this amazing cause. I’m happy our entire MASH team was able to experience first-hand what Mr. Jones and his team have been doing for the past 35 years. We already have a plan to raise awareness among our peers and MASH community and I know the team and I will continue to work really hard to help the Rescue Mission’s team great cause,” said Koren.
By Gabe Flaten
In the coming weeks, MASH will be holding clothing drives for The Capital City Rescue Mission. If you have any clothes or accessories that are no longer needed, please e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Just a couple articles of clothing makes a huge difference.