Rescue Mission's Efforts Catch Eye Of Chamber

TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) - Barry Feaker's business at the Topeka Rescue Mission is getting people back on their feet.

They may not fit the stereotype of a business, Feaker says, but it definitely takes people and finances and a lot of commitment to make it work.

Perhaps that's why the Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce reserves a category just for non-profit organizations in its annual Small Business Awards. The Topeka Rescue Mission is one of this year's nominees for the honor.

Feaker likens the mission to a small city, with more than 300 guests usually spending the night. But if it should fall apart, he says, it could have a dramatic impact on the community. Beyond people having a bed at night, Feaker says, are the people who depend on the mission for food or a pair of shoes to wear.

As the economy has faltered, the mission has seen more people needing its services. Just like the business world, they're dealing with fewer resources to meet those needs. Feaker says it's a time of "creativity" to figure out how to do more with less.

The mission has set up cots to make room for more people at night; partnerships allow them to offer transportation, housing and job training opportunities; and, now, expansion plans are coming to fruition.

Feaker says it works first and foremost because of people with compassion. He says the community has shown "it's about us" and asking what they can do to help.

"It's great to be a part of that," he said.

HCCI and TARC are the other nonprofits nominated for the Chamber's award. The winner will be announced Wednesday, May 16.


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