About Us

We Have a Heart for the Homeless, Hurting & Hungry in the Rock River Valley

Welcome to Rockford Rescue Mission

A Safe, Caring Place for People in Need

Rockford Rescue Mission offers Christ-centered care to people struggling with challenges like homelessness, poverty, abuse and addiction.

With the help of our community, our ministry seeks to:

Rescue those in immediate crisis
Recover people’s dignity and sense of self-worth
Restore the lives of men, women and children

Your support lifts up the hurting in our community and gives them a second chance in life.

Why we do what we do…

Our Vision

Rescue • Recover • Restore

Our Mission

Rockford Rescue Mission shares hope and help in Jesus’ name to move people from homelessness and despair toward personal and spiritual wholeness.

  • Living for the Glory of God
  • Respecting Human Dignity and Immortality
  • Proclaiming the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ
  • Modeling Compassionate Generosity
  • Partnering with the Church and Community
  • Serving with Integrity and Excellence
  • Rejoicing in Lives Changed by God
  1. We believe the Scriptures to be the verbally inspired Word of God, inerrant in the original writings, and that they are of supreme and final authority in faith, practice and rule of life (II Timothy 3:16,17).
  2. We believe in one God, eternally existing in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Genesis 1:1, John 10:30, John 4:24).
  3. We believe in the deity of Christ (John 10:33); His virgin birth (Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:23, Luke 1:35); His shed blood for atonement (Ephesians 1:7, Colossians 1:14); His bodily resurrection (John 11:25); His ascension (Acts 1:11); His advocacy (I Timothy 2:5, I John 2:1); and His personal, soon return to earth to consummate His kingdom (John 14:3, Revelation 11:15).
  4. We believe that God the Holy Spirit convicts of sin, regenerates the sinner, secures, assures, indwells, teaches and enables the believer to live a Godly life (John 16:8, John 3:5, Ephesians 4:30, I John 3:19, I Corinthians 6:19, John 14:26, Romans 8:26,27, Galatians 5:16, Romans 8:14).
  5. We believe that all are sinners by nature (Psalm 51:5), by choice (Isaiah 53:6) and by practice (Romans 3:23); depraved and lost, making it necessary to born again (Isaiah 1:4-6, John 3:3, Romans 3:9-20, Ephesians 2:3).
  6. We believe that believers are justified on the grounds of repentance and faith in the shed blood of the Lord Jesus Christ (Mark 1:15, Acts 13:39), apart from good works (Ephesians 2:8,9).
  7. We believe in the eternal hope of the believer (John 10:28,29) with a continued relationship to God (Romans 8:38-39, Colossians 1:27, John 5:24).
  8. We believe that Christ’s church is constituted of all true believers and is organized into local, visible congregations (with which we identify) for the purpose of fulfilling the Great Commission (Matthew 18:20, Acts 2:41-42, Hebrews 10:25, Matthew 28:19,20).
  9. We believe in the bodily resurrection of both the saved and the lost: the saved unto a resurrection of life, and the lost unto a resurrection of damnation (Daniel 12:2, John 5:28-29).
  10. We believe all shall stand before the judgment seat of Christ in Heaven where the righteous will receive reward and will dwell forever with the Lord (II Corinthians 5:10). We believe that Hell is a place of conscious eternal punishment of all unsaved (Matthew 25:26, Revelation 20:7-10, I Corinthians 10:13).
  11. We believe that Satan is a person whose purpose is to deceive the unsaved, to tempt and mislead the saved, who will finally be overthrown by Christ, and cast into hell (Genesis 3:13-14, I Peter 5:8, Hebrews 2:14, Romans 16:20, I John 3:8, Matthew 25:41, Revelation 20:7-10, I Corinthians 10:13).
  12. We believe the Lord’s Day, the first day of the week, to be a Christian institution of regular observance, to  commemorate the resurrection of Christ from the dead, to exercise worship and spiritual devotion both public and private (Matthew 12:1-12; 28:1, Mark 16:1-7, I Corinthians 16:1-2, Exodus 20:8-11, Revelation 1:10).
“Rockford Rescue Mission seeks to glorify God through offering individuals and families the Gospel-centered care that touches and changes their hearts, their souls and every aspect of their lives for a better, more hopeful future.”
— Sherry Pitney | CEO

Meeting Big Needs in
the Rock River Valley

While Rockford Rescue Mission has seen a lot of changes since our founding in 1964, one thing never changes: Our mission to move people from homelessness and despair toward personal and spiritual wholeness.
Here’s how your support makes our mission into a reality!

Shelter

39,838 nights of lodging
(men, women & children)

Food

125,987 meals
(An average of
345 daily) 

Necessities

19,979 food, hygiene & other items distributed

Case Management

6,884 case management sessions

History of Rockford Rescue Mission

1963

Ray Stewart, a recovered alcoholic, comes from the Pacific Garden Mission in Chicago to establish a similar mission in Rockford.

1964

Ray rents a building at 116 Kishwaukee St. for $100 a month and opens the doors of the Rockford Rescue Mission in May. The sign on the front door reads, “All are welcome here. The alcoholic, the addict, the stranger, the sojourner, the pilgrim, the poor. There is hope for all who enter here.”

1965

At Ray Stewart’s recommendation, the Board appoints his pastor, Rev. G.O. Pitney with his wife, Nadine, as new director. The first newsletter is published, later called The Rescuer.

1967

All debts are paid off. Rev. Pitney appeals in The Rescuer, “Won’t you help us build a modern city rescue mission which any Christian would be proud of and upon which the world would look with greater respect?”

1969

Forty to fifty churches are supporting the Mission and The Rescuer circulation reaches 2,000.

1971

The Mission buys the 21,000 square foot Germania Club at 121 South Madison St. for $30,000. The building, built in 1892 with a ballroom, bar and Rockford’s first automated bowling alley, is converted into a place of refuge, redemption and recovery. The new Mission motto is: “Help all the people we can, in all the ways we can, as long as ever we can.”

1974

The Mission partners with Christian Love Acres, a 60-acre farm near South Beloit, to provide work rehabilitation for the men through doing chores, caring for animals, buying and selling hay and painting tractors.

1975

Women and children are included in outreach services; a literacy program began, and free clothing is distributed to the needy through Family Day program.

1979

The abandoned Poole Hotel at 730 West State St. and the house behind it on Elm Street are purchased from Salvation Army for $10,000 to care for women and families. “Ye Rescue Shoppe” opens in a rented building at 309 Seventh St. to sell donated goods to support the Mission. Mission founder Ray Stewart dies in an auto accident. In tribute, G.O. Pitney writes, “If it had not been for Ray Stewart, there would not be a Rockford Rescue Mission.”

1980

A house at 723 Elm St. is purchased for $32,000 for staff housing and “Kiddie Kare” children’s ministry.

1982

Perry Pitney (oldest son of G.O. and Nadine Pitney) and his wife, Sherry, are hired to lead the programs (Perry is named Associate Director in 1984 and Director in 1987).

1984

“The Pitney Family Gospel Singers” begin touring to give concerts in order to raise awareness and funds for the Mission.

1985

The Christian Care Center, with eighteen rooms for women and children’s recovery, is dedicated after six years of renovations.

1987

“The Pitneys” are named “Contemporary Gospel Bluegrass Group of the Year” by the Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music in America.

1988

“The Helping Hand” at 125 Madison St. opens to distribute free food and clothing to those in need.

1992

An area auto dealer donates a 46,000 square foot building at 1201 Broadway, which is later sold for $119,000 to be designated as a building fund.

1994

The Mission purchases and develops 42 acres in Southwest Rockford for a children’s day camp and recreational/agricultural programs known as Mission Acres.

1995

The Rockford Register Star presents the Mission with its Excelsior Award for outstanding contribution to the community.

1996: The Launch of Hope Place

The Mission purchases 5.5 acres of property at 600 and 700 West State St. for $150,000 from Bill Hembrough Buick, which includes a gift in kind of $392,000. “Ye Rescue Shoppe” is sold and the Mission opens a new thrift store, “Keepers Unlimited” at 1405 Kishwaukee St.

1998

“The Pitneys” win the Rockford Area Music Industry (RAMI) Award for Best Christian music group. Nadine Pitney receives the YWCA Marcella Harris Award for Community Service.

1999

The Mission relocates to Hope Place. This new facility is made possible by a $4.5 million capital campaign. The Women’s Crisis Center, Hope Clinic and a second thrift store are opened. The staff increases to 102 employees. G.O. and Nadine Pitney retire.

2000

Perry Pitney resigns, and Dr. Pat Clinton becomes interim director. The Innovative Education Center opens, and community outreach support groups are launched.

2001

Keepers Unlimited opens a third thrift store at Southgate Shopping Center. Sherry Pitney is appointed Executive Director.

2002

The Mission is licensed by the Illinois Department of Human Services as a State Certified Recovery Home. Hope Dental Clinic opens.

2004

The Mission celebrates its 40th anniversary. Rescuing the Raggedy Man: The History of Rockford Rescue Mission by Perry Pitney and Jim Killam is published.

2005

Former Executive Director Perry Pitney is killed in an auto accident.

2009

The building at 625 West State St. is renovated to house Restoration Café, a vocational training center and café open to the public. The Mission’s “Mother of Rescue,” Nadine Pitney, dies after a long battle with cancer. The Mission celebrates 10 years at Hope Place and 45 years of ministry. The Mission receives the Spirit of Caring Award from Crusader Community Health.

2010

Rev. G.O. Pitney dies at age 80 after battling Parkinson’s Disease for 26 years. The block of Horsman Street between State Street and Mulberry Street is designated “Pitney Place” in honor of G.O. and Nadine Pitney.

2011

The Mission expands its State Street campus with the purchase of the building at 212 N. Rockton Ave. to accommodate needs of the facilities department.

2012

The Mission purchases the former 56,000 square foot Bob’s Hardware to expand the Thrift Store operation. The Mission receives a $750,000 grant from the Federal Home Loan Bank in Chicago to fund renovations at Hope Place.

2014

The Mission celebrates its 50th anniversary with “What’s your story?” theme.

2015

The Mission receives “Partners in Success Guardian Award” from Carpenter’s Place.

2016

A $7 million building expansion called Pitney Place is completed. The women and children move in May 10, 2016. The Jay and Christine Akely playground is dedicated. The former Pregnancy Care Center at 611 West State is purchased for expansion.

2017

Drive-thru to Restoration Café opens. The Mission opens expanded education and career program called Works! Center. Remade shop opens at 611 W. State St. The former Jay Tronics building located at 124 N. Rockton Ave. is purchased for future expansion.

2018

The William Howard and Lucille D. Dittmar Performing Arts Center opens. Men’s Remade begins. Restoration Cafe wins first-place Business is Blooming award from the Rockford Area Convention & Visitors Bureau for its attractive and inviting exterior.

2019

The Mission celebrates its 55th anniversary. In the Works! Center, the GED testing center opens, offering hundreds of tests to increase local job seekers’ employability.

2020
As an essential service during the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic, the Mission perseveres and innovates. For the first time ever, all community meals and the Thanksgiving Feast and Christmas Banquet are served to-go. The Restoration Café and the Remade shop combine as Nettie’s Mercantile, on the site of the former Restoration Cafe.
2021
As the pandemic continues, periodic quarantines and lockdowns for portions of the Mission continue to keep residents, guests, volunteers and staff members safe. The Life Recovery Program meets requirements and standards as a quality program provider of the Genesis Process. The Life Recovery Program achieves a success rate of 63 percent. CEO Sherry Pitney is elected vice president of Citygate Network’s Great Lakes District.