TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – The Topeka Rescue Mission is looking for ways to keep the shelter from shutting down. On Monday we learned the North Topeka organization is struggling financially.
Now they need nearly $200,000 more in donations each month to keep the mission running or they may have to close their doors.
Executive Director Barry Feaker said these financial problems all come down to a lack of donations. He thinks it could be the tax code which gives people less of an incentive to donate money. Or maybe it’s just the trend that’s sweeping the nation of people spending less of their paycheck on charitable giving.
Either way, they don’t have enough donations coming in and they’ve spent their savings so they’re facing serious funding issues.
“I’m concerned because I know these folks and I know what they go through. I know that they depend upon us,” Feaker said.
To help keep afloat they’re already planning to shut down side programs like their thrift shops or their human trafficking prevention program. But if they don’t get enough funding they will shut down their main shelter by September 15.
That would hurt people like the McCollums who came to live at the shelter after their car broke down and Keith lost his job.
“We didn’t know what to do. It was very scary for us,” Keith McCollum said.
“We probably would’ve been in our vehicle with our children and that’s not safe at all, so I’m very grateful for the mission,” Jessica McCollum said.
Now Keith has a job, Jessica is starting one in about a week, and the couple is preparing to move with their four daughters to a new home.
“They were here to help us when we had no other place to go,” Jessica McCollum said.
Although their situation is dire, Feaker said he thinks the community will hear their plea for help and step up to save them by donating.
“I think that the majority of this community has already demonstrated we’re here because they care. I think if they can, they’ll do it again,” Feaker said.
Just like the mission has saved members of the community for decades.
“Nobody ever thinks they’ll get here. But sometimes it happens and when it happens you are lost and need a shoulder to lean on. This place is that shoulder,” Keith McCollum said.
Those that want to donate can do so now by texting TRMgive to 77977, or send donations to PO Box 8350, Topeka, KS 66608.
It’s not just the people they serve who would be impacted if the Rescue Mission shut down. It could cause problems for the city as well.
Topeka leaders are already trying to find ways to deal with our homeless population. Without the rescue mission providing options Councilmember Sandra Clear said that could get worse.
“I don’t know what we’d do. I don’t know where these people would go. The city council is working on the ordinance for camping and where to take the homeless if they don’t have a place to go,” Clear said. “If the rescue mission isn’t there, there isn’t anything.”
The Topeka shelter isn’t the only one that’s having issues. The President of the Lawrence Community Shelter told KSNT News that they’re having to reduce the number of people they house by almost half because of financial problems.