Former Felon Credits City Rescue Mission For Turning His Life Around

Monday, December 26th 2011, 6:24 pm
By: News 9

T'is the season to surround yourself with friends and family, or just spend time at home. But what about those who do not have a home to call their own? And don't know where to turn?

Many turn to the City Rescue Mission, the state's largest homeless shelter.

"This is a place, its free and it's a place that you can come and get the help that they need," said Tom Jones, the president of the City Rescue Mission.

Jones says the face of homelessness is changing here in Oklahoma City. He says they have seen a 55 percent increase in the number of single mothers with children coming through their doors over the past two years. They currently have 75 children staying in their downtown facility.

In that time, More than 3,000 people who have never been homeless in their lives have come to the City Rescue seeking a hot meal, a warm place to sleep, and most of all, a second chance.

"While they are in that state in their lowest despair, they are prime candidates to begin to believe in themselves again, if someone is there to nurture that," said Jones. "City Rescue Mission is place that says come here, we are going to lock arms with you and we are going to walk this journey with you."

Right now, the mission has 37 families staying there and has more than 20 on the waiting list.

There are a lot of grateful men, women and children at the City Rescue Mission. But none more so than George Foster. Foster spent nearly 31 years in prison for armed robbery and didn't know where to turn. He says he and his wife owe a lot to this place.

To him, it's more than just a place that provides him with a hot meal and a warm place to stay. It's the place that gave him a second chance at life.

"When we came here, I didn't know what to expect," said Foster. "I just knew I needed to be somewhere, away from the old neighborhoods."

Jones says Foster is one of their many success stories.

"He's got great vision," says Jones. "He's got great dreams that he's held back for years and years, but it's time for him to be a success for himself and for the community."

And Foster agrees.

"I don't need to prove myself to nobody no more. That's what got me 45 years. I don't need to prove that I'm this tough guy," he said.

Foster says his hands and body show the scars of the life he used to live. Now he's ready to start a new chapter.

"The structure of my life is coming back together, people in this county are helping me, CEO's of companies are helping me and if they can do that for me, who's to say they can't do that for somebody else," said Foster. "I'm nobody special, I'm just another human being who says I'm putting this first foot forward."

The City Rescue Mission is the largest homeless shelter in Oklahoma and has the state's largest free alcohol and drug recover center. The faith based organization receives no local, state or federal funds but relies strictly on the generous donations of Oklahomans.