At Northlands Rescue Mission, we see firsthand an array of challenges that people face in their day-to-day lives. There are too many to list, but these challenges include trauma, domestic violence, serious health issues, substance abuse, and unexpected job loss. Whatever our clients may be dealing with, though, it is easy to see the humanity in each and every one of them. They are people fighting to do their best with what they have, and it is not hard to imagine that we might be in their shoes under different circumstances.
We'd like to share the story of Allen, a recent client who has been incredibly helpful around the Mission.
Allen has been at the Mission for a few months. He is originally from Minnesota, where he's lived for most of his life. Recently, he was renting a place with his nephew and sister, but he ran into serious issues with his landlord. Allen says the ceiling was caving in and the water had completely stopped working, but his landlord refused to fix anything. Allen stopped paying rent out of frustration, but instead of having his issues resolved, he was kicked out. That's when Allen traveled to Grand Forks and found the Mission.
Since arriving, Allen has gone above and beyond to help out around the Mission and to make new clients feel welcome.
Each morning, Allen wakes up around 4:30 a.m. to begin setting up breakfast. Throughout the day, he is always first to volunteer if staff or clients need a hand. "I get along with just about everybody," Allen says.
Unfortunately, serious health issues have prevented Allen from continuing work as a truck driver or restaurant cook, both jobs he has held in the past. Allen has coronary heart disease, and he's had three separate lung collapses.
In August, Allen underwent surgery to have a stent put in the left side of his heart. He had 90% blockage in his artery, and immediate action was necessary. Thankfully, everything went well and Allen is now recovering.
Sometimes, Allen's desire to help wins out over the need to care for his own health. He recently suffered a small stroke and went to the hospital. After being discharged, Allen returned to the Mission and went outside to start cutting the grass. Staff had to stop him and tell him that it was time to rest and recover.
Despite what some may think, Allen badly wishes he could continue working. "It sucks. I'll be 48 soon, and...it hurts. The doctors told me I'm pretty much done working now. That's why I do what I can to help out."
Allen used to drive a truck hauling produce, sometimes for weeks at a time. "I miss being on the road. Just out there, driving...I miss it. I've been to all the states except for Hawaii. Can't drive a truck to Hawaii," he grins.
Allen also worked as a cook at several restaurants. "My dad was a cook in the Army, so that's where I got that from," he smiles. Allen was working at one restaurant in Grand Forks until recently. "After my health took a toll, I had to quit there."
Allen is also an outdoorsman. When he has free time, he loves to hunt, fish, and camp. He enjoys fishing down on the bank of the Red River. He's able to walk there right from the Mission, and it gives him a sense of peace when things feel hopeless. Allen even shared his favorite spot with another client after hearing that the man had never seen the river.
Like the other clients, Allen has a plan for his future. He meets with the Mission's social worker regularly to discuss his options and resources. They are currently working together to find Allen long-term housing. Because his health issues prevent him from working, Allen is also taking the necessary steps to qualify for social security benefits.
Allen has dealt with a lot. His health issues are scary and demoralizing, to say the least. Thanks to Mission supporters like you, however, Allen has a safe environment to face these issues and plan out his future. He knows he is not alone because people care enough to provide a place like Northlands Rescue Mission. That is a blessing for this community, and we are so grateful to have your support.
Your generosity and support of the Mission give hundreds of people per year the chance to rebuild their lives. Thank you for being the difference for these individuals.