|On a Mission for Rescue Mission Milk|
Grants Pass Daily Courier, May 7, 2001
Written By Kevin Widdison
Like most local residents, Cindy Jones was aware
of the Gospel Rescue Mission, but only vaguely. She knew it served the
homeless and other people desperately down on their luck. Beyond that,
however, she didn't give it much thought.
All of that changed last month.
While sitting in her car at a local gas station,
she noticed a woman and her four children. The youngest was still in a
"The older children were laughing, playing,
and bickering with each other, as siblings do best," she remembers. "The
woman was smiling and talking to them as they entered the parking lot where
I was parked."
Cindy was caught off guard when the woman
casually approached her car and hit her up for "spare change."
"I hesitated, looking at her baby in the stroller,"
she says. "Then I gave her my standard reply, 'No, sorry'."
With her husband behind the wheel of the car,
they drove off. A few blocks later, she found that she couldn't stop thinking
about the encounter. She got out of the car and went back to find the woman.
"We talked for about 15 minutes while her
children played around her feet. She mentioned that she was staying at
the Gospel Rescue Mission."
For Cindy Jones, this discussion was a wake-up
"A lot of people in this community don't even
know we have the Gospel Rescue Mission. That doesn't surprise me. I knew
about it, but never really though much about it before," she says. "People
just get wrapped up in their own lives, dealing with their own problems.
It's natural. To learn the numbers of people in the community they help
was really eye-opening, especially in a small community like this."
Among the things Cindy discovered was that
the mission has its share of women and children- from eight to fifteen
women, and two to eight children, on any given day. "I found that in spite
of the amazing efforts of the mission... they did not have a regular supply
of milk and juice," she adds.
As a mother of two, the though bothered her.
Looking at the numbers, those efforts do,
indeed, appear amazing. In an average week, the Grants Pass Gospel Rescue
Mission serves nearly 1,100 meals, according to Roger Mawyer, director
of operations. That's more than 100 pounds of meat, 250 loaves of bread,
2,000 pounds of vegetables and seven pounds of coffee.
A week. Every week. Fifty-two weeks a year.
That list should also include 56 gallons of
milk- eight gallons a day. But it doesn't. Yet.
"They do the best they can with the support
of the local stores and community members, but the usual beverage is water,"
Cindy says. "Donations of milk, coffee, and juice do come in, but not with
Cindy Jones is the kind of person who looks
at a big problem and then breaks it down into its component parts. Once
the big problem is rearranged into a series of smaller obstacles, the task
doesn't seem so daunting.
"People get it in their heads that problems
solving is difficult," she explains. "But if we simplify things, we can
solve them. A lot of times, we think things are more difficult than they
Cindy immediately started looking for ways
to simplify the Rescue Mission's milk issue.
She figures it would
cost about $160.00 a week to supply the mission with the milk it needs.
So she launched "Project Milk Money," an effort to find 160 local residents
willing to donated $1 a week each. Once you see it in those terms, the
challenge certainly doesn't seem as overwhelming.
"My hope is that the community will be
made more aware of the needs of those outside our own front door and we
will realize that even little sacrifices can make a huge difference in
the lives of others," she says.
Along the way, she also used the effort to
broaden the horizons of her own children. Her 8-year-old daughter helped
her brainstorm and develop the idea for Project Milk Money.
"It brings greater awareness to my children
about other children who can't just get up and go get a glass of milk,"
Cindy says. "It's something we just take for granted."
You may freely reprint this article on your website provided the following caption remains intact. Article courtesy of ProviderWatch. For more information about the only nationwide credit reporting agency for childcare professionals, visit providerwatch.com or call toll free 1.866.267.3691.