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Rockford Rescue Mission
715 West State St.
Rockford, IL 61102
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Rockford Rescue Mission
P.O. Box 7489
Carol Stream, IL 60197-7489
Phone: 815-965-5332
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Phone: 815-965-5332

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Our Speakers Come to You

Our representatives are always ready to share how Rockford Rescue Mission helps those in need with your employee, church or civic group. In addition to sharing about the programs and services offered by Rockford Rescue Mission, we explore issues related to poverty, addiction, homelessness and more.

This is an excellent way to gain insight into the needs of your community and become equipped to make a difference at the same time.

To schedule a speaker, call 815-965-5332 or email us at

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As we enter this season of Thanksgiving, we’re inviting Mission staff and residents to express the things they are grateful for. Check out what Mindy, a Life Recovery resident, is grateful for this Thanksgiving!
8 People You Should Know: Mike

"In a jail cell and withdrawing from heroin, I was already on my knees with sickness. I prayed: Please, God. I don’t want to live like this. Help me find another way. I just want to be happy and live a different life.

I thought I was going back to prison, where I had spent most of my 20s for crimes as a gang member. But two weeks later, a judge told me I was getting another chance, with probation and rehab. The guards put me in shackles—around my ankles, hands and waist—and walked me out of the McHenry County Jail and into a van for the hour’s drive to Rockford.

That was the last time I will be shackled—literally, or by addiction or codependency or whatever life throws at me. When they led me into Rockford Rescue Mission and took off the chains, that was me being set free.

At the Mission, I saw the love of God. First it was from staff members. I began to show love to them in return, and I started to feel peace. All the guilt I’d been carrying my whole life, the shame for the things that I’ve done, and the pain I felt— it all started to ease. On July 21, 2020, I asked Jesus to be my Lord and Savior.

I love listening to people’s stories and getting a chance to tell them mine. During my time in the Life Recovery Program I also developed an interest in cutting hair. After I finished the program, I enrolled in barber college at the Cosmetology & Spa Academy. I graduate soon and there’s already a job waiting for me at Downtown Barbers.

As you probably know, talking with people and barbering go together pretty well. My teacher says barbers are underpaid psychologists. I hope my future always includes helping people who feel as lost as I did. I want them to find what I found."

To meet more people from Rockford Rescue Mission we think you should know, pick up the Sunday RRStar paper each week now through December 25th or follow along on social media!
Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.
— Joshua 1:9

Today we honor and pray for our veterans, who have placed their lives on the line in defense of freedom.

Thank you.
As we enter the Thanksgiving season, we’re inviting Mission staff and residents to express the things they are grateful for.
Ted, our Chief Development Officer, is grateful for all of our donors and volunteers. Their dedication to the Mission and those we serve is a true reflection of the heart of Christ!
Staff and residents from our Men’s Life Recovery department served last week at @meyers_pet_care near Belvidere. They helped direct parking for the annual Christmas at the Farm event. Although the weather was rainy and windy, our residents and staff joyfully directed traffic and even helped push cars that got stuck in the mud.
Meyer’s donated a portion of this event’s proceeds back to the Mission! As our meal numbers have grown to over 500 a day, we are so thankful for this blessing. It helps us feed and shelter the most vulnerable in our community.
Thank you, Meyer’s!
8 People You Should Know: Christy

"If it wasn’t for Rockford Rescue Mission, I would probably be in prison today. Or worse.

I was there not long ago, doing 15 months for repeated DUIs. I struggled with drugs and alcohol most of my life, but my biggest downfall was alcohol. I have also dealt with depression my whole life. Whenever I would go off my meds, I drank and did drugs.

In prison, I told my aunt one day on the phone that I felt alone. “You’re not alone,” she said. “You have Jesus.” It didn’t help much at the time. I was mad at Him for the mess my life had become.

After prison, I fell back into some of the same things that got me sent there—heroin and crack. Soon I had no place to live and less hope than ever. I’m from here, so I knew about Rockford Rescue Mission. With nowhere else to go, I came to the door.

This place saved my life, and turned it around. I have made friends who I want to keep for the rest of my life—friends I can actually count on and trust, and I tell them how I’m feeling. At the Mission, I met lots of people whose lives truly had been transformed by the love of Jesus. After about a month and a half here, I asked some of the staff to pray with me so I could accept Him into my life.

To anyone whose life is as messed up as mine was, I would say come to the Mission. It will renew your life. It will restore you. It will get you sober. I wrote a letter to a woman I was in prison with, telling her I was in the program and that it’s faith-based. I told her she needs to start reading her Bible and applying it to her life. Jesus really is the ultimate answer."

To meet more people from Rockford Rescue Mission we think you should know, pick up the Sunday RRStar paper each week now through December 25th or follow along on social media!
The Mission is getting ready for our annual Thanksgiving Banquet! We are excited to welcome hundreds of people into our Great Room for a nutritious Thanksgiving meal.

Do you or someone you know need a Thanksgiving meal while in a hard season? We hope you will join us!
Date: Wednesday, Nov. 23 | Time: Noon | Location: 715 W. State St., Rockford IL 61102
We urgently need laundry detergent, travel-size shampoo, travel-size body wash and deodorant as we serve more guests than we’ve had in two years!
These are items we always need, but we’re especially low during this extra-busy season. You can be a huge help by simply purchasing a few items and dropping them off at the Mission.
Thank you for your support!
November is almost here, which means the Mission has a new list of needs. 
Please remember us this week as you are out shopping. These items help us meet the most urgent needs of homeless, hurting and hungry people in our community.
God bless you for caring!
In the Mission’s early days, Nadine Pitney came across a paraphrase of Jesus’ parable of the Prodigal Son. She was moved; it reminded her of the men coming into the Mission.
Her husband, Mission Director G.O. Pitney, thought it would be good to have the story hung on the wall at the Mission. He spoke with a local sign-shop owner, Adolph Sjostrom, about the idea.
“I have a young apprentice working here who is a good artist,” Adolph said. “I will have him do it.”
The finished piece on heavy paper – a man’s portrait with the story lettered to one side – was framed and placed on the wall in the Mission’s original Kishwaukee Street building. After the 1971 move to Madison Street, it hung for years above the pulpit and stage area.
Years later, G.O. ran into Adolph. In the course of their conversation, Adolph mentioned The Prodigal painting, and its creator: the now-nationally famous artist Tom Heflin.
“Perhaps he would come and sign it for you,” he told G.O.
Indeed, Tom attended the Mission’s 20th anniversary celebration in 1984, and during the event he climbed a 20-foot ladder and autographed the painting.
The brittle, old painting didn’t survive the move to the Mission’s new Hope Place in 1999. But that same year, the Mission commissioned Tom to do another painting. At a special banquet, he unveiled “Lord of the Harvest” to the Pitneys, in honor of their many years of service. The painting now hangs in the Mission’s Visitors Center.
Adapted from Rescuing the Raggedy Man, ©2004 by Perry Pitney and Jim Killam
Thanks to Rock Valley Credit Union for sending part of their staff to the Mission recently to serve lunch!
Community partners like Rock Valley Credit Union help make possible the day-to-day tasks at the Mission, like serving a meal. Our volunteers are even more crucial now as we are serving about 600 meals a day, compared to 400 a day this past summer.
Thank you, Rock Valley Credit Union!
The Mission is getting ready for our annual Thanksgiving Banquet! We are excited to welcome hundreds of people into our Great Room for a warm Thanksgiving meal.
Do you or someone you know need a Thanksgiving meal in the middle of a hard season? We hope you will join us!

Date: November 23 | Time: 12:00 p.m. | Location: 715 W State Street Rockford IL 61102
On Sunday mornings in the 1960s, Mission director G.O. Pitney would make 15 to 20 men from the Mission shave, put on dress shirts and ties and pile into an old bread truck. Their destination was whatever church G.O. had been invited to preach that day – often a country church in one of the farm towns around Rockford. 
G.O. wanted the men to sense their need for God, but most didn’t feel worthy – they thought they had strayed too far in the other direction. The shaves, shirts and ties would lift their self-esteem and help them not to feel quite so out of place in churches. It gave them a sense that there was hope for them to be back in society again, and to feel worthiness rather than worthless.
So people started donating clothing to the Mission. Nadine Pitney and some volunteer ladies would take dress shirts to the coin laundry and wash and iron them so the men would have them for Sunday.
One Sunday morning, G.O. took a group to the Bible Baptist Church in Harrison (the church that originally helped Mission founder Ray Stewart decide to come to Rockford). A tall, ruddy, Swedish man – they never did get his name – greeted them at the door and shook each man’s hand firmly with a genuine welcome. During that next week at the Mission, one of the men, George, came forward at the end of evening chapel service and told G.O. he wanted to become a Christian. G.O. asked him what part of his sermon had caused him to see the need for salvation.
“It was nothing in your sermon tonight, Reverend,” George said. “It was the smile, the kindness and the sincerity the man at church showed me when he shook my hand. I could tell that Jesus was real to him. I want what he’s got.”
Adapted from Rescuing the Raggedy Man, ©2004 by Perry Pitney and Jim Killam
This month, the Student Ministries team from @firstfreerockford visited the Rockford Rescue Mission to worship with residents and guests and then to serve lunch!
One high school student reflected on the day: “Sunday was a very eye-opening experience. It really put into perspective how many people are struggling and have problems in the world and how a simple few hours of serving can really brighten up people’s day and give hope. A little hope can go a really long way…”
Thank you, First Free students, for helping us spread hope to those who are hurting!
The cold has arrived, and more people are coming to Rockford Rescue Mission! We are now helping to care for more than 200 people each day.
Individuals are coming to us broken, hungry and hurting. Our staff are meeting them with compassion and sharing the hope that Christ brings amid great struggles.
Would you pray with us today for everyone coming through our doors? Would you pray that our staff have the endurance to keep up with the many needs of hundreds of individuals?
God bless you for caring. We could not do this work without you!
The Rescuer/ Fall 2022 - Sherry's Message

As we planned our current issue of The Rescuer newsletter, we received awful news. A young man who went through our Life Recovery Program a few years ago died from a drug overdose.
We have seen several of these tragedies in recent years. They hurt, deeply. They also remind people living in addiction of the incredible danger they face. Brian, another of our residents whose story is featured in this issue, came to the Mission because he didn't want to die. Heroin, cocaine or crystal meth are dangerous enough, but today users play a deadly game of Russian roulette because dealers often lace their products with fentanyl, the opioid responsible for so many overdose deaths.

The Mission sees so many success stories—more than most addiction treatment programs, in fact—but there’s a share of heartache, too. In the wake of those, I’m so thankful for people like Brian, who are seeing their lives transformed. And I’m so glad that our programs focus on bringing people to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Those of you who support the Mission in prayer, financially and through volunteering share in that work. It helps us all remember, through our own experiences and those of loved ones, that we are not as strong as we think we are. We truly need the Lord and each other.
Partners in Hope,
Sherry Pitney

To read Brian’s story, you can follow the link below.
Want to serve the homeless, hurting and hungry in our community? Want to be a part of a ministry team that feels like family? Rockford Rescue Mission may be the place for you! View our current job openings here:
A huge thank you to our friends at ComEd for joining us recently for our Thrift Store inventory process! Without them, we would not have been able to complete this required task quickly, smoothly and with great joy.
Thank you, ComEd!
Sadly, homelessness and addiction remain significant pain points in Rockford and our surrounding communities. At Rockford Rescue Mission, we believe we cannot successfully treat one without treating the other. This reality came into sharp focus this week, as Monday was both World Homeless Day and World Mental Health Day.
Off The Top Barbershop joined us at the Mission on Monday to provide free haircuts on World Homeless Day and World Mental Health Day. It was such a blessing for homeless men in our Crisis Center to be able to receive a fresh haircut—something people often take for granted!
In our six decades of rescue work, we have consistently observed that chronic homelessness can almost always be traced to mental illnesses. These include drug and alcohol addiction or dependence, which are classified as mental illnesses because they change brain patterns, disrupt normal needs and desires and cause compulsive behavior regardless of consequences.
Well-intended efforts to house the chronically homeless often fail because they assume the solution is simply to provide more affordable housing. Rather than place still-vulnerable people in a position to fail, Rockford Rescue Mission believes in care and recovery for the whole person—physically, mentally and spiritually.
Most importantly, we believe no one is beyond the love, care and hope of Jesus Christ. Given the right resources and being surrounded by the right people and opportunities, we believe people truly seeking recovery can become all that God wants them to be.
As more people have come to the Mission lately for help, we have been flying through laundry detergent! When we ran out, a staff member called Home Depot to ask if they would be willing to donate some. Sure enough, Home Depot brought a load of laundry detergent to the Mission with great joy. Along with expressing our gratitude, Mission staff members Ted and Marcey gave an impromptu question and answer session on what we do at the Mission.
Thank you, Home Depot!