by Mike Pyatt
Since our founding, America has been a generous nation, with a storied history of charitable and philanthropic giving. Last year Americans donated a staggering 373 billion dollars to charitable causes. People dig into their pockets for a variety of reasons. Passion, gratitude, generosity, conviction, tax write off, or perhaps, some for guilt. Most early endeavors were Christian based. The Bible’s rife with references regarding helping the less fortunate. Industrialist, 19th Century philanthropist, Scottish born Andrew Carnegie, whose 1887, “Gospel of Wealth,” explained his rationale for giving away his vast fortune to causes he believed his Christian duty. Scripture informs us that, “God loves a cheerful giver.” Some say in jest, “He’ll even accept it from a grump.” Give out of the abundance of the heart!
Most have a cause near and dear to us. Legions will clamor for a cause that is haute couture. Some are high profile. There’s no paucity of worthy organizations entreating for funding. Notable charities range from the American Cancer Society to the American Red Cross, and Samaritan’s Purse to the Salvation Army, or Make-A-Wish Foundation. All count on the generosity of supporters. The list is lengthy. Some are less known, yet no less vital. Not all are nationwide, but leave an indelible mark on local communities, saving lives, relieving misery and delivering good will.
Due diligence is required-scammers exist. Few can give to every appeal-despite its legitimacy. Unlike the Gates Foundation, we’ve limited resources. Whether its bowling, walking, running, or a bucket of ice, the focus is financial donors. Few could donate the vast sum that emblazons one’s name on a building or sport stadium. Not all contributions are monetary. Some are indefatigable activist, not satisfied to remain on the sidelines, yet toil in obscurity. It may be time and talent, or sweat and tears. Volunteers are the indispensable backbone of most charitable organizations. Absent a personal touch, charity can appear sterile-especially on the government dole-NGOs do it best.
Less glamorous is the plight and unique mission of the Rescue Mission. The image has changed in some aspects since the first Gospel Mission was founded in 1872, in New York City. Not the mission. The cause is as great today. Not just the “down and out” or “bottom stratum of society,” as some think. Caught in the web of helpless despair, many find themselves in a Rescue Mission. Causes are myriad. A major downturn in the economy, mental illness, poor choices, multiple personal tragedies, drug addiction, loss of a family, alcoholism, and illicit behavior. It’s true, “But for the Grace of God…” Fallen Man wears many faces. Who hasn’t made poor choices? A thin line separates prince and pauper.
Fortunately, some are dedicated to ministering to those that most of society has forgotten, rejected or ignored. It’s a labor of compassion. Reaching men, women, and children. Feeding, housing, and offering them hope with the transforming Gospel of Jesus Christ. A chance for reconciliation. Absent fanfare or media attention, it’s a quotidian affair. There’s no surcease to misery, loneliness, and rejection. It’s a world foreign to most of us whose live otherwise. Turning a blind eye to what repels us isn’t new. Both Priest and Levite ignored the wounded man on the Jericho road.
Brad Hopkins, Executive Director of Central Wyoming Rescue Mission, in Casper, and the ten member Board of Directors are committed to the mission that launched CWRM, in 1978. Their Mission, “Central Wyoming Rescue Mission rescues and reconciles the homeless and needy with the love of Christ, restoring them back to society as healthy, productive and independent community members.” Hopkins said, “It’s an honor to be in a position to be a voice for those who have no voice.“ Brad spent twelve years with the Denver Rescue Mission.
Wyoming churches and individual contributors help provide a haven where everyone is welcome, for men and women in crisis of hunger and homelessness. CWRM annually provides 39,283 meals, and 1923 hours of counseling, and much more. All at no cost to those who pass through their doors.
Tangible gifts, representing 21 counties in Wyoming, and more than 30 churches, permits them to expand their ability to continue “radical hospitality.” Few of us will darken their door. So, how do we connect with the most vulnerable? Pray, donate, or volunteer. Visit their website at CWRM.org. Partner with them. What do you think?
Mike Pyatt’s a Natrona County resident. His email’s firstname.lastname@example.org