For Partnership Development Director Jasmine Sneed it’s all about relationships, whether with the homeless, hungry or addicted or with individual donors, business partners, and fellow nonprofits. Building relationships has enabled Frederick Rescue Mission to meet the needs of its burgeoning community for almost 60 years. Giant Food has donated more than $400 through the Bloomin’ 4 Good and Community Bag programs.
Tell us about the Frederick Rescue Mission.
The Rescue Mission has been successfully serving for almost six decades with a foundation of support that began in the evangelical church. It is very much Christ-centered, but we serve everyone, whatever their beliefs are.
Our mission is to change lives now and for eternity. We provide residential programs to those experiencing homelessness or chemical addiction, food to the hungry, clothing and personal care items to those in need, and connection within the community through relationships.
The Rescue Mission property was built in 1875; it was the Frederick County Jail and the attached sheriff’s mansion, an historic manor home. The property was turned over to the Rescue Mission in the 1980s when the county relocated to a more modern facility. It’s gone through some substantial renovations, but we utilize the structural elements of the original facility. For example, the dorms of our Changed Life Recovery Program for the men who are here on property, are former jail cells. So, what was used as a place of punishment and retribution is now a place of restoration and hope.
Since the beginning, we have been serving breakfast and lunch to the community 365 days a year. In 2018, we were blessed with a successful capital campaign, and we renovated the 1928 kitchen into a very modern, fantastic kitchen with a dining room that can seat 150. We have full-time kitchen staff, and we also have volunteers who come in and help and serve those breakfast and lunches.
What started in the 60s with a tiny, little “bread aisle” has evolved all these years later into moving 2.5 million pounds of food through our food distribution network every year. That’s a combination of people coming on site here in downtown Frederick to receive fresh and nonperishable groceries and what goes out to our food bank partners around the county. Frederick County is very large geographically. We want to make sure that our food bank partners in the farthest reaches of the county have resources and can meet the needs in their communities.
What sets your organization apart from others in your community?
We have other organizations in the community that are meeting needs in the homeless space, and we partner with them. Frederick County is very robust in its nonprofit services. We are an incredibly tight knit giving community and we’re careful not to duplicate efforts. Whereas we do breakfast and lunch, another agency does dinner.
No one else is supplying as much food to our community food banks as the Rescue Mission. You might have a smaller community food bank that is doing drives with the local school or the local churches or neighborhoods. And that is so fantastic. We need all these organizations that meet specific community needs, but we supply additional food items to them. We also supply churches. You may have churches doing community outreach through their own avenues, but they don’t have the resources to obtain all the food items on their own. We’ll supply a church in a farther-reaching part of the community with pre-made bags that they can then give out to their distribution. Nobody’s doing that on the scale that we’re doing. We’re doing a lot of it on our own, but a lot gets partnered out. And because Frederick is so tight knit, our businesses, like Giant Food, partner with us to make these things happen because it’s all about relationships.
We are the only Christ-centered recovery program for men in the county. There are other recovery programs, but we’re the only one with this particular model. We also fill a niche in women’s services. There’s no other place where a homeless single woman can go to receive housing. There’s a family shelter, but we’re meeting a niche for single homeless women.
And I haven’t even mentioned our Rescued Treasures clothing program. We take donated clothing, and our guests can come in and shop for free. You could get outfitted for a new job or work at no charge. If you’re looking for work pants and boots or shirts, for example, we’re going to have that for you. It’s a whole separate program run by a couple of my colleagues with our wonderful shelter program. No one else is doing that for free.
Tell us a story that clearly illustrates the good work you are doing.
Guy Mutchler, our Director of Food Services and Facilities, recently met a woman in the parking lot as he was leaving for the day. She hurried up to him carrying a small bag containing two boxes of ready-to-prepare macaroni and cheese. “Sir, I’d like to make a food donation,” she said. “I know this isn’t much, but it’s all I have, and I just feel like I should give back to the place that provided for me when I was in need.”
As they chatted there in the parking lot, Guy learned that she had received groceries throughout the year at the Food Distribution Center. “This woman gave everything she had without regard to the cost,” says Guy.
…we could not do what we do without partners like Giant Food and like the individuals who make us the conduit.
We have such an abundance because of the generosity of our donors that a mom with five teen-aged children, for example, can take as much as she needs for her family. The way I look at it is that the needy wouldn’t be served without the Rescue Mission, doing what we do. But we could not do what we do without partners like Giant Food and like the individuals who make us the conduit. We get the joy of being a conduit, but it all comes from contributions, whether it’s a loaf of bread or a thousand-dollar check. Those are the only ways we can do what we do. We get the fun of giving it out, but we really are as human beings all in this together.
What is your greatest achievement or contribution to the community?
It’s tough to choose one thing. When you look at the longevity of the work of the Rescue Mission, almost 60 years of consistency and longer than I’ve been alive, frankly, and that it has carried on and not diminished, but expanded, it’s phenomenal.
Our county has changed significantly in 60 years. We were very much a rural, very small community, but due to urbanization from Washington, DC, in particular, Frederick is thriving, and the population has quadrupled. The community has continued to support us so well that we’re able to meet today’s needs. That’s saying a lot.
What do you want people to know about Rescue Mission?
An individual has an opportunity to participate in the Rescue Mission in multiple ways. Recently, someone sent us a check and I called and said, “I’m so thankful for this donation. This is the first time that you’ve invested in the Rescue Mission. What made you pick us?” And he said, “We used to come in and we would donate turkeys, but we weren’t able to do that this year. So, I wanted to send a check.”
Another donor said that he used to volunteer with his daughter, that they would come in together to serve lunch. They’ve been unable to do that, but he wanted to make sure he invested with a financial contribution.
We are taking all of those who are struggling and giving them a hand up.
There are so many ways that someone can contribute, whether it’s volunteering to pack a food bag or to serve a meal, or to teach a class, or to work in our reception office and give a pair of socks to a homeless person who comes in. People can participate in a way that is comfortable for their life.
We’re serving the whole community, not just the homeless, not just the food insecure, not just the chemically addicted. We are taking all of those who are struggling and giving them a hand up.
How will you use the funds raised from Giant Food’s Community Bag and Bloomin’ 4 Good programs?
Since these are unrestricted funds, they would be used organization wide. They could go to supporting Changed Life Recovery, which incidentally needs food because our residents are given three meals a day. So, it all comes full circle.