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Connecting Communities with a Compassionate Heart
You’d like to help with Mission from Mars and the food ministry and want to learn more, or don’t know where to get started or how you can help? Use this guide to learn more about who we are, what we do, and what you can do for others. It is amazing what one person can do and as a team even better! Thank-you for considering coming on this journey with us!
Mission From Mars Sunday Lunch
After reviewing the services of other organizations, Mission From Mars identified there was a need to provide a lunchtime meal on Sundays on the Northside. Because access to public transportation is difficult for homeless (money, bus passes) and they may not be physically able to walk miles across the city, providing this meal fills a gap for many living near the Northside.
We strive to provide a protein, starch, and vegetable in each meal. We also provide something to drink and a dessert. We welcome blessing bag donations with necessary hygiene items or other donations! (See "Services")
We provide tables, masks, hand sanitizer, serving gloves, utensil packets and trash bags.
If you could no longer cook for yourself, what would you miss the most? We often hear fresh fruits and vegetables as the answer to this question, although some have told us they miss pigs in a blanket, casserole dishes, pork chops, and even challah bread! We ask that you please avoid pasta with red sauce, that is popular in shelters. They love homemade meatball subs, fried chicken, or pierogies. We had a team come in and do a taco and ice-cream bar! We try to put a lot of love in our meals! They absolutely love and appreciate it!
WHO? You, your neighborhood, book club, church group, school group, baseball team, girl scouts or other organization can provide a meal to help support the community of homeless.
WHAT? You and/or your group can provide any portion of the above (100 people), provide paper products, drinks, or whatever you are able to do. Those who are called to take a leadership role, can take a “Full Meal Deal” where they and their friends collect all of the needed items, cook, and then serve the meal.
WHERE?: Mission From Mars sets up ACROSS the street from Light of Life mission in the park area. You use Light of Life Rescue Mission GPS address: 10 E. North Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15212. We serve near the outside of the Martin Luther King Elementary School. We are there holiday, rain, snow, or sunshine. The address is: 50 Montgomery Place Pittsburgh, PA 15212. You can also use the address for Light of Life which is: 10 E. North Ave Pittsburgh, Pa. 15212. The meal is across the street from Light of Life in the park. They just added a DO NOT ENTER sign, but I would entire at your own risk or go around the block.
It is in the park in front of the Verizon building and near the school. It is ACROSS the street from Light of Life Mission. (in front of the park/playground) We are not affiliated with Light of Life, but this location was chosen as it is within walking distance of the shelter and streets where our homeless friends live. You will see the homeless congregate there and arrival of volunteers starting to arrive at 11:30 am.
WHY?: Because it is the right thing to do to feed the hungry and clothe the poor. We are called to love one another and help our fellow brothers/sisters in need.
IMPORTANT: It must be brought hot and following all food safety guidelines. These are our family and are inviting you to cook for our family. We need hot items brought hot and cold items cold.
FULL MEAL DEAL
Full Meal Deal: You provide the entire meal with drinks and paper products.
- Provide a meal for 75 people and sometimes more between May-August. We keep an eye on the numbers in attendance and ensure we have enough food for everyone. We try to incorporate protein, starch, veggie and dessert.
- Food choice: Whatever fits your budget and cooking skills! Kindly avoid pasta with red sauce, as they get this in the shelters.
WHAT MISSION FROM MARS PROVIDES: Our team will provide tables, hand sanitizer, serving gloves, utensil packets and trash bags. A member from our team will meet you downtown to help set up with some regular volunteers.
WHAT DOES YOUR GROUP PROVIDE:
- Food for 75 people
- Food will be packaged on site in to-go containers
- We encourage bottled water and they love other beverage alternatives. However, we always try to have 100 bottles of water. What is not drank is then taken to the encampment areas.
-The "full meal deal" means that you will bring food, drinks, desserts, plates, napkins, and forks.
What is Mission from Mars?
The goal of Mission From Mars is to create a community of like-minded men and women who feel compelled to help the homeless. We love shaping the minds of children by teaching them to serve. We want you to find a place to serve, when you don’t know where or how. We do this by facilitating and fostering community involvement. We try to provide a way for groups, individuals, and families to get involved. We have started this with our Sunday lunch ministry. Through the community, we provide meals in an area and during a time where many do not have access to a meal.
What we do, for the community: Bring your talents and interests to the team! With a community developed, we hope that you find a way get involved. For example, Mission From Mars team members have created their own groups who join the community on Sunday:
Street Ministry– Aside from the scheduled lunch team, we have volunteers that dedicate their time to just being there to listen. We deliver food to downtown Pittsburgh homeless and those living below the poverty level. We link as many people as we can to services. We ensure they live in sanitary conditions, run groups, provide supplies, social support, and help new homeless get established with the basics.
Donation Drive- Clothing, backpacks, blankets, sleeping bags, tents, shoes, new underwear, socks, or gloves/hats, and blessing/comfort bags. Anyone can organize clothing/shoe drives or make blessing bags for the homeless! We do ask that you bring them down to the Sunday lunch spot. The information is under "contact us". We ask that it is clean without stains, smells, rips, or pet hair. Also, you are welcome to bring donations with your team.
Motivational Speaking or sharing the Gospel- Before the lunch begins Mission From Mars reviews available resources and always tries to share a motivational message. We always say a prayer and give thanks for what we do have. We even had "Worship Wednesday" under the bridge for three months.
Collaborate with other groups with the similar goals- We are also involved in meetings within the City of Pittsburgh that creates a collaboration among different leaders working to serve the homeless. This helps us organize among each group so we do not overlap services or encroach on encampment areas. We work to protect their living space and privacy.
What we do, for the homeless:
- You are not alone: Our goal is for all of our homeless friends to know that they are not alone, God is with them, and that there are friends who are here to help.
- Focus on survival: We serve primarily only those individuals that are currently homeless and/or live below the poverty. level.
- Community: We hope to provide a gathering place on Sundays for the homeless to fellowship with the community and also provide support to their fellow homeless. Mission From Mars provides compassion to PEOPLE who need it. We don’t judge, but we do listen. We understand that many of the people we serve are fighting addictions and some pretty terrible life circumstances. Often what is needed is just a person who is willing to take time to listen. Just knowing they are cared about and valued as fellow man/woman means the world to them.
- Resources: We provide information and resources to the homeless. We provide information regarding where to go and what organizations will help them with jobs, housing, bathing/restroom facilities, mental heath, addiction services, and much more.
- We listen: The Mission From Mars team also spends time during the week visiting encampment areas, alleys and other locations where homeless are making their home. We seek out needs and work together to fulfill. We return and deliver what they may need for survival. We also provide meals directly to the camps and do our best to improve their living conditions.
What we aren’t?
We are not a soup kitchen, shelter, or food pantry. We cannot currently collect and house excessive amounts of items for distribution, but you are welcome to help someone we identify get started in their new home. If we find specific needs for specific individuals, we do our best to meet them- such as a man who needs a size 15 shoe or items for work. If you feel called to help with this ministry, please let us know! We are proud to hand out something that is neat, clean, and not trash. They already suffer from low self-esteem, they are better than trash bags. We promote a clean clothing exchange.
We are NOT a non-profit, therefore anything you donate is not tax deductible. We are a loosely knit group of people who are looking to help our friends and neighbors, who happen to be homeless. This typically entails helping with food, sometimes clothing, and always lending an ear and a prayer.
We are not insured, licensed, or registered in any way. While we may organize a particular meeting time or place to distribute food (or other items), we cannot be responsible for anyone’s safety in these situations, or while preparing or serving food. It is imperative that all people engaging in street ministry understand that they do so at their own risk. We will provide some other information we have learned about safety below.
We believe that there is something for everyone with Mission from Mars street ministry. Do you feel called to do something to make a difference? We have no staff, just volunteers…like you. Will you join us?