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The Journal Gazette

  • Jamie Duffy | The Journal Gazette Donovan Coley, CEO of the Rescue Mission, leads a prayer before the annual banquet Friday at Memorial Coliseum.

Friday, November 18, 2016 10:02 pm

Banquet raises funds to give hope to homeless

Jamie Duffy | The Journal Gazette

Brokenness brings about homelessness.

That is what Darryl Strawberry, a former major league baseball player and 1988 National League home run leader, said is the primary cause of living without a home. Strawberry, who hit rock bottom himself after his career, was one of three honored guests at the Rescue Mission’s gala Friday.

Strawberry appeared with his wife, Tracy, signing autographs during a special preview to the Mission’s annual banquet held at Memorial Coliseum.

About 1,500 people paid up to $100 for an event ticket. The gala raised about $200,000 for the Rescue Mission and aligned charities, said Richard Cummins, executive vice president of operations for Charis House, a woman’s shelter associated with the Rescue Mission.

Honored guests also included Steven Curtis Chapman, an internationally known Christian rock artist, and Dr. John Townsend, best-selling Christian self-help author.

Imogene Nusbaum-Snyder, a Rescue Mission board member, was eager to shake Townsend’s hand and tell him what he meant to her. When she worked for the children’s treatment facility, Crossroad, she quoted him at organizational meetings.

" ‘It’s important in an organization to get everyone headed generally westerly,’ " she recited his words by heart.

That kind of recognition, Townsend said, "makes me feel like I’m part of something a lot bigger."

Chapman, who said he has been in the Christian music business for 30 years, has as his main cause Show Hope, an organization for orphans and adoptive parents. He and his wife adopted three children from China, he said.

But still, homelessness fits into his beliefs as helping "the least of these," a reference to Jesus’ words in Matthew 25: "Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me."

"They (the homeless) didn’t start out in life like that," Strawberry said. "We must never forget about them."

Rescue Mission’s CEO Donovan Coley said during a communal prayer that the facility had helped 1,400 men, women and children in residential programs in one year. The mission also provides 263 beds for men and women. 

jduffy@jg.net