“Mission provides real work experience in-house”
Many people in the community are familiar with the Allentown Rescue Mission’s Clean Team, an employment program that provides real wages to homeless men working for other companies in the Lehigh Valley. However, few may be aware of real work experiences provided to Clean Team employees in the Mission’s facility. Two of those work experiences are highlighted by Brian and Ashley.
Clean Team Kitchen Assistant – Brian Smith
Brian came to the Mission in late 2019. After years of bad decisions and a broken marriage, Brian began to self-medicate with alcohol. He lost everything. He completed the Mission’s Transformation Program. He expected to work a labor job through the Clean Team, but another position became available: kitchen assistant in the Mission’s food service department!
Prior to Brian’s stay at the Mission he had worked in various food service professions as a cook for a local hospital network, personal kitchen staff for a local celebrity, as well as over 20 years as a cook for a charity that delivers meals to seniors. Brian was a natural fit for the new position.
When asked how his life has been changed, Brian says, “The Mission helped me lay down my pride and realize I needed to ask for help. Through the programs here I have a positive outlook on life, and look forward to what the future has to bring….”
One of the things Brian looks forward to is finding his own place to live. Although the position is transitional, Brian hopes his hard work in the Food Service Department could earn him a permanent position in the kitchen.
Clean Team Shelter Associate – Ashley Wesley
Ashley also came to the Mission in 2019. After losing his job at a local production facility, his relationship with his son’s mother soured. Hopeless and jobless Ashley came to the Mission for help.
Ashley entered the Mission’s Transformation program where he learned skills needed to succeed in the community. He also found a relationship with God. Ashley says, “I learned to walk by faith, not by sight.” After graduating the Mission’s Transformation Program, Ashley was hired by Fedex as a seasonal worker. He has since come back to the Clean Team.
While employed as a laborer on the Clean Team, a need arose in the Mission’s shelter that a Clean Team employee could fill. Ashley stepped into that role. He is currently working 5 days/week assisting with shelter operations. He is a role model for men considering the Mission’s Transformation program.
He looks forward to finding permanent work in the community, and reuniting with his son.
When asked to tell the community about how the Mission has helped him, Ashley says, “The Allentown Rescue Mission gave me hope again and helped me find a strong faith relationship…. This place changes lives, and if you or someone you know is homeless and needs help, please tell them about the Mission….”