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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 baby-stroller.
     "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 call.
     "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 any regularity."
     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 really are."
     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."

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