AUGUSTA, Ga (WJBF)- UPDATE 9/13/2023– The Garden City Rescue Mission has raised $415,000 and still needs to raise $80,000 by September 15th to stay open.
Time is ticking for a nonprofit in Augusta that works with homeless men.
Garden City Rescue Mission has to raise nearly half-a-million dollars to buy the property where the building currently sits, or the organization will have to close its doors. They’re getting closer to their goal, but time is not on their side.
Garden City rescue mission has until next Friday, September 15th to raise a little more than $160,000 to save their home. So far, they have been able to raise more than $330,000 and they are confident they will meet their goal in time.
“We house up to 60 men every night. These are men that are walking around on the streets trying to figure out should they end their life today. They’ve lost almost everything that they’ve got,” said Patrick Feistel, Executive Director.
Many of these men are fighting addiction and thoughts of suicide. Pastor Mike Brendel is on the board of directors. He said at the rescue mission, everyone helps each other.
“I think that when they come in, and the fellas who come in as overnight guests, they get to be met by fellas who are in the program. So right off the bat, they’re going to be around people that are sober, that have gotten some victories in their lives. Folk who are seeing light at the end of the tunnel,” Brendel explained.
It’s a religious organization that provides three meals, a hot shower, clothing and hygiene items, and a bed to sleep in. Feistel tells NewsChannel 6 that he has been through the same things these men are going through.
“God used people who are…he sent me to a place where people was praying for me. And that’s what we are here.”
For 22 years the non profit operated in its location on Fenwick Street. Then the owner died and now the board of directors is liquidating some of his properties; meaning the rescue mission has to buy the property, or leave.
Feistel said the community has stepped up to help.
“I always had peace in my heart that God was gonna work this out and that we was gonna finally get to own this piece. And so we’re excited right now. All the people that have stepped up and have given sacrificially, businesses, individuals, families, even young people have raised money to rescue the rescue mission.”
Commissioner Jordan Johnson heads up the city’s homeless task force. He said organizations like Garden City are needed now more than ever and the city wants to help however possible.
“The very first thing that we did was reach out to Garden City to see what we could do to support them in their fundraising efforts, whether that ‘s just joining them at events, share fundraising links, or even contemplate whether to give from our own city’s coffers,” Johnson explained.
Johnson is proud of the level of community support for the organization and hopes it continues.
“I want folks to stay involved. Number one, join the Homeless Task Force. Get involved with the task force because these meetings is where the rubber meets the road. Then I want the community to consider giving to the Garden City Rescue Mission.”
Brendel said the staff is continuing to hold on to hope that they will be able to keep helping these men.
“Well I think that it’s going to be fabulous. I don’t really know what it’s gonna feel like or look like or what the future may hold, but I know that this is going to be…this is the first step in that future. And I know that the Lord’s gonna raise it. I do. I just know that he is.”
Feistel believes Garden City Rescue Mission has to move forward, because it saves lives.
“If the Garden City Rescue Mission wasn’t here, there’s men that we see here right now, I believe that wouldn’t be here,” said Feistel. “I don’t mean wouldn’t be here in Augusta, or wouldn’t be here today, I just believe they wouldn’t have survived this long in the shape that they was in.”
The Garden City Rescue Mission will host a live share-a-thon on their Facebook page next Thursday, September 14th from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
CLICK HERE to make a donation, or call (888) 682-0485.
Photojournalist: Will Baker.