Have you ever wondered -
Where do the homeless go? How do the hungry eat? Who helps the addicted recover? What do single mothers in crisis do when their family is falling apart?
When the dark place inside begins to take over, that dark stemming from the hopelessness and despair of situations that put a person out of control in their own life, there is an open door in Pittsburgh at the Light of Life Rescue Mission to bring light back to their lives.
The Light of Life Rescue Mission has a holistic approach. They help people to get the education and skills they need to recover from addictions, become stronger, better parents, and overcome poverty, among other issues. They work to “empower men, women and children to overcome extreme adversities and gain essential tools for lifelong achievement.” They provide services for creative learning, treatment referrals for mental health, activities for developing social skills, Bible studies, after-care and mentoring.
Pittsburgh Gives Day of Giving is upon us – today, October 3, 2012. Light of Life needs your support to light the way for others in crisis. Help them with an online donation and have your gift proportionally matched by The Pittsburgh Foundation’s $750,000 match pool!
“We radiate life by empathizing with the needs of the communities we serve, partnering in the healing process, as we share the Gospel of Jesus Christ and make spirit-filled disciples,” is a message of positivity found within the Light of Life website.
Jessi Marsh, Director of Development at Light of Life, says, “We serve people in crisis from all over the Pittsburgh area. People come to the mission through many places. They come in from the street and from rehab facilities. They will come to Light of Life for a meal and learn about the additional services offered. Some people come right after being released from incarceration and others are referred to Light of Life by other nonprofits.”
Wherever they come from, their lives have gotten to a really dark place. Many people may sit back and think, “that could never happen to me. I could never be homeless; never become addicted, never be so down and out that I need a rescue mission to provide a roof and meal for my survival.” But if you ask the people finding strength and services through Light of Life, many of them would tell you they thought the very same thing.
I like this video that highlights their walk event while giving us some statistics to think about.
Light of Life also operates a Christian recovery program for single mothers and children in crisis. The Mission offers a 9–18 month program and assists women and their families with subsidized apartments, assistance with transportation, household and childcare needs, and 20 hours per week of counseling, education and training.
“Suffering the effects of abuse, addiction and poverty, most women enter the program incapable of functioning in a parental role. This need is addressed by teaching recovery and parenting skills and strengthening the family unit through outings and activities,” Marsh adds about the program.
The following is a story of hope and determination resulting from Light of Life’s help:
Debra’s struggle with drugs and alcohol began when she was 21 years old. Using alcohol and crystal meth to ease inner turmoil, she found herself in jail in 1987, charged with vehicular homicide and DUI.
After spending three years in jail, Debra was determined to lead a better life. Her faith was stronger and her self-esteem had improved. Debra remarried, had four children and attended college—graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in psychology and art.
However, her 21-year, second marriage was dangerously unhealthy—racked with emotional and physical abuse. Then, in 2007, Debra started using crack cocaine and immediately became addicted. Once again, her life spiraled downward.
The situation worsened. But in 2009, Debra mustered the courage to leave the situation. Settling her children in with a friend, she entered Light of Life’s recovery program for women and children.
“The program forever changed and saved my life. The counseling, parenting, and co-dependency classes were incredibly helpful; Bible studies were crucial to my recovery.”
Light of Life continues to change lives and positively impact communities year after year. Support them on Day of Giving and mark your calendar for their upcoming event:
More Than a Meal Gala,, October 25, 2012
Come join us at this year’s “More Than a Meal” Gala, being held October 25, 2012, at the beautiful LeMont Restaraunt in Pittsburgh!
The evening will feature delicious food, a silent auction, and inspirational testimonies of life transformation. This is a great opportunity to partner with Light of Life and to celebrate 60 years of providing services to poor and homeless men, women, and children.
You can register for the Gala at LightOfLife.org
There are so many facets to the work at Light of Life that can’t possibly all be shared in one post. Please read more in their latest newsletter to see how others, like Pittsburgh-area native and former Pittsburgh Pirate, Sean Casey are pitching in to make a difference with the Light of Life’s mission. You can also check out and follow the Light of Life blog,
Simply Put – We can talk about the problems in the world. Or we can set out on a mission to fix them right here in our communities. Take part in being a solution and give to Light of Life on Day of Giving or find volunteer opportunities in their Mission.
Are you prepared for a long-term hospital stay with your child?
I think the greatest fear for any parent is that their child will become seriously ill or be diagnosed with a chronic condition. I have been so very fortunate with four healthy children and only one with an extended (4 day) hospital stay.
For many of us, it’s unimaginable to think of what would happen if our child is diagnosed with an illness that requires numerous or lengthy hospital stays or we have a child born with a severe condition, such as congenital heart disease.
Would you be ready if you needed to be by your child’s side day-to-day in the hospital?
Think for just a moment – would I have gas in the car to go back and forth; how will I eat while I’m there; if I have to take a leave of absence or quit my job, how will we pay the bills; are out-of-pocket expenses or limited time going to mean less for Christmas and birthdays; am I going have the strength to get through this fearful time?
Sometimes one person, one tiny life, can bring the most monumental change and support for others. That is how a wonderful organization, Zachary’s Mission, began.
Zachary Hunter Vince lived surrounded by the comfort, care, and love of his parents for just fifteen days. Zachary was born with a congenital heart defect and the brief time spent in his parent’s life set them on a heartfelt mission to find ways to ease the difficult time spent during a child’s hospital care for other parents.
As they share in Zachary’s story:
Despite countless prayers and the best care provided, we lost Zachary on June 28th, 2008.
Moving forward, we knew our lives had been changed forever. Although we walk away with empty arms, a new world was unveiled to us. Looking back, we find comfort and some healing from our ability to spend every day at Zachary’s side. Unfortunately, not all families have the necessary financial and emotional support to do the same. Some families are only able to visit their sick child at night or on the weekends because of job commitments or childcare obligations. Some parents not only worry about their sick child but the crushing financial toll of long term, intensive hospital treatment and the expenses that accumulate with their stay.
We can help Zachary’s Mission in their continued efforts to ease the stress and expenses these parents face!
Please make it your mission to give from the heart and donate to Zachary’s Mission during the Pittsburgh/Westmoreland Gives Day of Giving on October 3, 2012.
Why? Because online donations of $25 or more will be proportionally matched that day, so your gift will go even further. Your donation on October 3rd will help them give to so many families in such a positive way!
It’s heartwarming to read some of the most genuinely thankful comments to Zachary’s Mission work on their Facebook page.
- “Thank you for all that you do through Zachary’s Mission to help families with children in the hospital! Sometimes it’s that random act of kindness that helps to lift your spirits and get you through the day! While staying in the hospital with our baby girl, something as simple as a healthy snack meant that we didn’t have to leave her side, allowing us to spend those precious moments with her.”
- “Thank you for the lasagna dinner at the Children’s Home. It was delicious.”
- “The families are very blessed to have you. Thank you for all you do.”
Reading through the posts made by Zachary’s Mission, you can really get a feel for how active, organized, and supportive this organization is!
- Zachary’s Mission was given the opportunity to help a family with utility bills today. This family has endured a long and difficult hospital stay with their child. We have heavy hearts today as we are reminded of the difficult decisions and situations that these families must face everyday. We are so deeply grateful for your support which enables us to help so many families.
Give your little ones an extra squeeze this evening!
- Zachary’s Mission is picking up a few last minute items before our stop in Pittsburgh today. We will be stopping by Children’s Hospital, The Children’s Home and Lemieux Family Center and the NICU at West Penn Hospital to drop off items that will take away some of the extra costs a family endures with their child’s extended hospital stay. We will drop off Gas cards, cafeteria vouchers, snack packs and quick meals.
- Zachary’s Mission was honored to prepare brunch for the families at the Ronald McDonald House last weekend.
- We stopped by The Children’s Institute in Squirrel Hill to drop off gift cards for families that commute everyday so that they may be at their sick child’s side while managing their children at home. The parent’s juggling act is not easy and we appreciate the opportunity to help ease their burden.
One of the ways Zachary’s Mission eases this burden for parents in the Greater Pittsburgh region is by providing Zack Packs to families.
These special back packs include many essential items that we take for granted,
but would be such a blessing for a parent caring for their child.
Shampoo and conditioner, Soap, Lotion,
Toothpaste / Toothbrush, Floss, Mouthwash,
Deodorant, Shaving Cream / Razor. Items to help organize such as pens, pencils, paperclips, rubber bands and notepad. Bottled Water, Hand Sanitizer, Kleenex, Word Find/Puzzles, and journals so that families can keep track of every detail. Also now including “A Little Expression of our Heartfelt Care and Compassion Snack Packs” filled with various items to fight off hunger.
You can also plan to attend Zachary’s Mission Fall Gala, which is a major fundraising event.
Here’s the quick look on the Fall Gala details:
- November 17
- Longue Vue Club, Verona PA
- Cocktails and dinner
- Americas Latin Orchestra will be the entertainment
- Dance instruction to warm everyone up
- A featured auction piece is an original painting by local artist Mark Bender.
For other ways you can get involved with Zachary’s Mission, look here.