I attended the Topeka Rescue Mission’s news conference on Tue, Aug 6 and was concerned, inspired and ultimately moved to tears by executive director Barry Feaker’s news that the Mission has a severe budget shortfall, is cutting services, and may have to close if the community does not provide critical financial support. Full disclosure: TRM is a valued partner of the Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library.
The library serves everyone and we work to ensure that all people have access to the information and stories they need to be engaged and informed residents. We have a presence in TRM’s Children’s Palace to provide resources for the youngest guests and their parents. Literacy and learning, when combined with the TRM’s essential work to meet basic human needs, is a formula for success.
Having lived and worked in other communities, I know that the Topeka Rescue Mission is unique and valuable. Topeka and Shawnee County do not have many of the problems that accompany homelessness because the TRM, along with key partners like Valeo and the Topeka Police Department take a holistic, compassionate and pragmatic approach to a serious and growing social problem. Very few communities have an organization that is expert in serving unhoused people, helping them get back to work, regain their lives and become productive community members.
TRM is a nationally recognized model for doing exactly that. As the library CEO I am proudly proclaiming our partnership with the Topeka Rescue Mission. As a private citizen, I will donate to a cause that is absolutely essential to our community.