This archived article was written by: Heather Myers
At one point or another everyone needs a little help, and CEU’s SUN Center is all about helping. At least once a month the SUN Center tries to help out at the Golden Rule Mission in Helper. They buy food and serve dinner to those who either reside at the mission or simply can’t afford food.
The soup kitchen in the mission serves meals every day; Monday – Friday at 8 a.m., noon, and 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. People don’t have to be residents of the mission to eat; they will serve anyone who can’t afford to feed themselves or their family. They accept donations from anyone and according to Bob Tanner, the cook who runs the soup kitchen, “Carbon residents have been so generous and that’s really what keeps the soup kitchen going. All of the churches in the area have been wonderful they all help with clothes and food whenever they can.” He also says there is always plenty of hearty food and no one goes hungry.
The Golden Rule mission is also helped financially by the thrift store they run next door to the mission. Individuals and organizations donate clothes and other used items and they are either sold (with any profit helping to fund the mission) or given away to people who cannot afford to buy them. Tanner said, “We try to sell the clothes, but if a mother comes in and can’t afford warm clothes for her children, we’ll just hand her a paper bag and tell her to take what she needs. You hate to see anyone, especially children, go cold.” As winter approaches more families are coming to the mission, which is why help like that the SUN Center provides is appreciated.
While staying in the mission, residents have to follow a strict code of conduct. The doors are locked at 10 p.m., there is no drunkenness allowed and all residents have chores they have to do such as cleaning, maintenance and cooking. Exceptions are only made for children and people with handicaps.
The people working at the mission work through an organization called AmeriCorps*VISTA (Volunteers In Service To America) whose goal is to end homelessness. Jim Thornton, a retired major in the Army Reserves who has a master’s degree in sociology, is the director of the mission and is proud of the mission’s success rate. “Our goal is to help people get back on their feet.” The mission has received several grants from the federal, state and local governments for their performance and the number of people they have rehabilitated.
“Not everyone in here is here because of drugs or alcohol, though some are. People don’t realize how close a lot of families are to being homeless. It only takes one major disaster, all it takes is for a business to close down or someone to get injured,” Thornton said, “We see it here all the time, and everyone here is so grateful for the help we get.”
The community helps the mission in many ways; there are mentors who help with drug and alcohol counseling, doctors and dentists who volunteer their services, and, of course, organizations like the SUN Center that serve food and help in any way they can.