Paul and Marilyn Vyzourek, graduates of Charis Bible College (CBC), founded Springs Rescue Mission (SRM) in 1996. The couple began by providing sandwiches to the homeless in parks and under bridges in Colorado Springs. Their heart to help the homeless however, didn’t stop at simply providing a meal; they wanted to transform lives with the hope of Jesus Christ.
With an increasing desire to help, the Vyzourek’s began taking in the homeless, providing refuge for them in their own home as they got back on their feet. In addition, they opened a food pantry in one of the rooms at CBC. Before long, much to their excitement, they began to see God supplying bigger and better ways to accommodate the needs of more people.
Springs Rescue Mission has been faithfully serving people in Colorado Springs for 14 years, and is currently under the direction of Rev. Joe Vazquez. He began volunteering at SRM as second year CBC student and was eventually hired. In July of 2003, he was appointed Executive Director by the SRM Board of Directors. Under his leadership, this organization now oversees the second largest emergency food distribution service in Colorado Springs.
Two of the many programs SRM uses to serve the Colorado Springs community are the Samaritan's Kitchen and the New Life Men's Program.
Samaritan's Kitchen provides approximately 3000 meals per week. This program is open to the homeless, and anyone who needs a hot meal. Each evening, along with their meal, those who would like to do so can also listen to a Gospel message taught by someone from one of the local churches. Once a month struggling families are welcome to pick up a Food Box. These boxes, provided free of charge, are packed with the ingredients needed to prepare meals at home.
Samaritan's Kitchen also offers two Culinary Arts programs as a way for those in need to establish new job opportunities. The program is certified by the American Culinary Federation (ACF) and locally supervised by Pikes Peak Community College. ACF certificates of completion are awarded to participants upon graduation.
Other services supported by Samaritan’s Kitchen are, summer lunch programs for children in need, outreach meal events, brown bag meals, and catering for other non-profit ministries in need.
The New Life Men's Program (NLP) is a one year residential program, which serves men who are homeless, drug addicted, and/or are having difficulty functioning in society due to a lack of life skills. The program is quite thorough in that it focuses on five key aspects of an individual's recovery, addressing the spiritual, educational, vocational, life skills and personal counseling needs of the person.
On average, Springs Rescue Mission helps 4,500 families per year with emergency food, clothing, and other assistance. Since the ministry began, SRM has provided more than 1,450,000 meals to the hungry and homeless. These meals very often provide a doorway to hope for a better life through recovery programs, emergency services, counseling, job training and other services provided by SRM.
Andrew's teaching about the love of God stirred compassion in the hearts of two CBC students. The Vyzourek's took the revelation they received from Andrew and put it into action. Their desire to help those in need led to the simple act of providing sandwiches to the homeless. Their initial effort has been multiplied by the hand of God, and the ministry has become a multifaceted, citywide blessing to many struggling souls in the Colorado Springs area.
To learn more about the many vital programs offered to the homeless and hopeless of Colorado Springs, visit the Springs Rescue Mission website.