Local churches kick off New Year helping the homeless

Published 12:00 am Saturday, January 1, 2022

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LAPLACE — The start of a new year means a renewed focus on service for the congregations at New Rescue Mission and Philippian Baptist churches.

The local churches are partnering with nonprofit Mission Rebirth to deliver hot meals and hygiene supplies to 200 homeless individuals in New Orleans. The distribution will take place at 2:30 p.m. Sunday, January 2 at 4180 Old Gentilly Road in New Orleans, and Pastor Devin K. Mason said all are invited to partake in the effort.

Mason finds inspiration in the words of Matthew 25:40, where Jesus said, “I will tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these, my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!”

This will be the third time the local churches have journeyed to New Orleans to assist the homeless population. However, instead of meeting the individuals under a bridge, the volunteers will deliver food and supplies to two shelters that were once a Days Inn and a Motel 6.

“New Orleans has an initiative to get the homeless off the streets. They are putting them in shelters, but these individuals do not have hygiene supplies or things of that nature,” Mason said. “We will be bringing supplies such as personal hygiene kits, cleaning supplies and clothing, and we will also be fixing hot meals on that day as well.”

Donations are still being accepted. Supplies including toothbrushes and toothpaste, combs, towels and even items like sheets and blankets are welcomed and may be dropped off at New Rescue Mission Baptist Church, located at 361 E. 14th St. in Reserve. To coordinate a donation drop-off, please call or text 504-612-7744.

Mason is excited to partner with Mission Rebirth, a New Orleans nonprofit that was founded by one of the members of New Rescue Mission Baptist Church.

The organization was founded on September 25, 2020 and received its 501c3 status on January 22, 2021. It’s mission is to provide resources to rehabilitate justice involved and formerly incarcerated women so they may successfully transition back into society.

Many of the services offered by Mission Rebirth can provide a helping hand to homeless individuals, such as helping them apply for Medicaid, attain job skills and locate housing and jobs. A full list of Mission Rebirth’s accomplishments since March 2021 can be viewed at missionrebirth.com.

When it comes to the distribution event on January 2, Mason said the more volunteers, the merrier.

“It’s not just an event exclusive to our members. All are invited to share, partake and partner,” Mason said. “I want anyone who has a passion to serve to join in.”

While COVID-19 limited outreach opportunities in 2021, New Rescue Mission Church answered the call to serve the community in the aftermath of Hurricane Ida by partnering with St. John the Baptist Parish for three relief distributions at St. Peter Catholic Church.

In 2022, Mason’s goal is to engage in an outreach or ministry project at least once every quarter. Service may come in the form of helping the homeless, caring for seniors, or aiding recovery efforts as the River Parishes continue to rebound from Hurricane Ida.