Fairbanks Rescue Mission continues goal to help the less fortunate during holiday season

Published: Dec. 22, 2021 at 4:15 PM AKST
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - With the holidays being the season of giving, there are organizations in Fairbanks that keep that spirit alive all year round - and the Fairbanks Rescue Mission strives to embody that energy with their efforts to help those in need.

According to Lisa Pullock, Programs and Operations Director for the Fairbanks Rescue Mission, there are several programs offered by the mission to provide assistance.

“The Fairbanks Rescue Mission is an emergency shelter,” Pullock explained. “We’ve been in operation for very near to 50 years now and we service the Interior of Alaska including the outlying areas of Tok and Delta. We have veteran services program. In addition to our emergency services we have a rapid re-housing program, and also provide three hot meals and clothing to anyone in the community.

Regarding the pandemic, Pullock said, “Before COVID, our meals and clothing were open at any time to anyone. Since COVID, we have had to restrict that to just clients that are living here at the moment. But, as things loosen up we’ve been able to invite more and more people into the building.”

Donations provided by the community are sorted and distributed to those in need according to John Coghill, Program Services Director for the Fairbanks Rescue Mission.

“The community has been very generous,” Coghill elaborated, “and so what we have here is bags of donated items - gloves, and socks, and things for hygiene. We get to be privileged in many ways to offer to people who have great needs. The homeless, they may be in a transitionary period in their life... the community, through their generosity, pray for us and they give to us generously so that we can give to those who have the need.”

During the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the rescue mission stepped up to help the community to the best of their ability.

“During COVID, we were the shelter point for people who became positive with nowhere to stay,” Pullock said. “We housed people from the emergency room from the hospital that were positive for the City of Fairbanks. We did help out with people even from FNA (Fairbanks Native Association) that needed shelter overnight. We’ve had a lot of grant money in the past year for cleaning supplies and that kind of thing. But of course as COVID lessens that grant money goes away, so we do have some need for extra help with cleaning supplies. We have masks, vinyl gloves, disinfectant wipes... that’s a huge need that we have right now and going into the rest of winter.”

According to Pullock, there are many ways residents can contribute to the rescue mission as well. “We welcome you to come and call or come in and just ask how you can help. What we will ask you is, ‘What do you want to do?’ There’s a place for you to serve anywhere that you want to be involved in. If something you’re interested in is the kitchen, we have a great need there. We also have a clothing closet that needs sorting and needs attending. Distributing things to people... if you just wanna go in and throw together a box of clothes and get it put together, that would be so helpful.”

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