This is what it’s all about

Changing Lives Here is Raleigh Rescue Mission’s campaign to offer meals, shelter, warm clothing and other critical services to homeless men, women and children in our community. Your participation makes it possible to change lives by meeting urgent needs!

split her family
in four pieces

“I was thinking if I could just get a job...the boys and I were going to be OK. That did not happen.” – Verlisha

Denny learns
to read at 58
years old

“I will not forget what this Mission has given me. I won’t forget you all because you do a lot of good.” – Denny

Verlisha was born and raised right here locally in Durham. But since the economy changed in 2008, she found her high school education didn’t allow her to compete for a living wage job in the Triangle area.

Most employers had become accustomed to seeing a college degree on a resume. Occasionally she would be hired on a contract basis, but when the project was finished, she was unemployed again.

She and her children ended up homeless for four long years. In her own words:

“The hardest part was giving the children faith that everything was going to be ok when I didn’t have it. That was tough. I was thinking . . . if I just kept applying, that a job was going to come along and the boys and I were going to be ok. That did not happen.”

Her children suffered from constantly changing schools, bouncing from one kind person’s couch to another’s, and the uncertainty of not knowing if they would have enough to eat or a place to lay their heads at night. One day her oldest son asked:

“Why is this happening to us?”

Verlisha didn’t have an answer. And as she saw the toll homelessness was taking, she made the very painful decision to relinquish her children to three loving, but separate foster homes.

A social worker suggested she go to Raleigh Rescue Mission to get stabilized before the deadline arrived when they would have to be adopted.

Verlisha felt like a failure. But she didn’t want to lose her kids. So she humbled herself and came to the Mission. “The Mission was my last chance to get my kids back,” said Verlisha. That first day was so much more than three meals, a shower, clean clothes and a night of shelter. It was the beginning of a whole new life for Verlisha.

She immediately grasped the opportunity she had in our recovery program. She blasted through all our life and job skills classes, found work and moved into her own apartment in just seven months! Now she can be a mom to her children again.

This family is grateful to everyone who made help at the Mission possible in their hour of need!

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Denny grew up in a carnival family. He never went to school. Never learned to read or write. Instead, he traveled from town to town, serving up fair food with his parents.  

Despite his difficult start in life, he became a hard-working, faithful husband for 32 years. He never did drugs. He didn’t even drink.  

But everything changed after a death in the family. His wife became angry. Nothing he did was ever right.  “I asked her hundreds of times, ‘What’s wrong?’” said Denny. “It just got worse until she became physically violent with me.”  

He tolerated the attacks until the day she put all of his clothes and belongings on the front lawn and set them on fire.

“I seriously thought about committing suicide,” he said. Instead, Denny left for his own safety. He had nowhere to go except Raleigh Rescue Mission. “The first 30 days were the hardest,” he said. “The program here and the life skills classes helped me realize that I didn’t do anything wrong.”

Denny had to heal from his heartbreak. But he also had the huge task of learning to read and write at 58. “The Mission gave me a tutor,” said Denny. “Now I can read anything. It’s a great feeling.”

Being able to study the Bible means a lot to Denny. He has also found that he loves to volunteer in our kitchen. Denny was recently hired by Breeze-Thru Markets. He is overjoyed!  “I’m very happy and secure now,” he said. “I’m on top of the world.”

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Most of our homeless neighbors don’t fit typical stereotypes. They’re like you and me.

They want jobs. They’re willing to work hard. They just need your help.

How your
compassion multiplies

Together we can end homelessness in Raleigh . . . one changed life at a time!

When you join Changing Lives Here you partner with Raleigh Rescue Mission and others in our community to provide each individual homeless person with what they need most. You don’t give them a handout, you give them a way out — to a life of purpose!

If every person in Wake County gave One $2.80 Meal we could provide 974,289 meals — enough to end hunger for months!

It’s a battle for survival out there. Your support will save lives.


Or take a tour

You can experience Changing Lives Here firsthand and meet the people you are helping through this campaign! Your own life may never be the same.

Learn More

Host a drive

Ignite the power of community by rallying your friends, colleagues and church.

Another way to multiply the impact you can make is by collecting food, coats and other needed items during the holidays. You’ll be surprised how willing everyone is to help when you take a leadership role in this campaign.

Want to help in Changing Lives Here by hosting a drive?

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Spread the word about Changing Lives Here

“The Mission not only changed my life, they also changed the lives of my children, forever.” Yolanda