Helping others in need is something that has always been close to my heart – specifically when it comes to serving the homeless.
This conviction began in 2006. I was 16 years old and had the opportunity to go on a week-long mission trip with Youth With A Mission (YWAM) through my youth group. Our trip took place in the big city of Seattle. Even though I now call the Seattle area home, it was a big deal for someone raised in a small town of 5,000 people!
YWAM helped to break down stereotypes of the homeless, and, day by day, had us interacting with people living downtown. It was a humbling and incredible experience I will remember for the rest of my life.
As an adult, I long for a way to offer my photography services to a good cause. Once I moved back to Tacoma, I had the perfect opportunity through the Tacoma Rescue Mission! Their mission is to help all people; including clients, volunteers, donors and staff, to become their best. They provide emergency services, such as shelter and food to the homeless or hurting; offer self-sufficiency programs to lift a person from poverty and break the chains of addictions; support prevention programs and share their Christian faith.
This winter, with temperatures falling to 10 degrees, they've gone above and beyond their normal overnight capacity and have been able to provide a warm space to sleep for 227 men. They also often have clothes drives, deliver water bottles during summer months and serve over 1,000 meals a day that anyone can volunteer to help prepare.
In addition, The Rescue Mission serves families by offering educational and occupational support, as well as rehabilitation programs. A recent donation has allowed them to go from sheltering 20 families to 32. I am so thankful for my community’s support!
Since reaching out, I've had the opportunity to photograph galas and benefit auctions at The Rescue Mission, helping spread awareness for their cause. I love being able to use my knowledge and talent to benefit people in need.