Frequently Asked Questions

What is "The Mission"?

The Helping Hand Rescue Mission is a wonderful old-fashioned soup kitchen that was founded in 1905. After serving the homeless for 100 years, the youth program was accidentally revived. Young people living in the housing development near the Helping Hand Rescue Mission have reshaped the program. The children refer to the building as "The Mission."

Do families live at the Mission?

No. In Philadelphia, as in many other cities, the government has created housing communities for families who aren't able to pay market value in rent. We have about 400 units in our neighborhood. Families pay 30% of their income towards rent.

Are some of the children in the program homeless?

Though we do not have children living on the streets, we do have some that have been in shelters. We also have some foster children. Some don't have their own places to live, but stay with relatives. Most of our children live in apartments with their moms and siblings. The homeless work of the Helping Hand Rescue Mission is separate, but sometimes our children volunteer to help serve the homeless.

How long have you guys been working at the Mission?

We had a tornado of an idea to start a church back in 2005. We didn't know our ears from our elbows about it, but we met as a 'church plant' on July 25th, 2005. We were able to use the Helping Hand Rescue Mission as visitors, and it was a good home base because of the parking. In April of 2006, we pulled up for our "church plant" meeting, and there were children playing catch in the parking lot. A game of catch turned into whiffle ball and that birthed our youth program. We couldn't have dreamed it, but it seemed as though it was meant to be. We have been working together since.

Who owns the Mission?

The Mission is a non-profit, so it is technically owned by the board of directors, but they don't really own it either. No one can make a profit off of selling the building.

Who runs the Mission?

Pastor Matthew Gallashaw is the Director of the Mission and has been for about 20 years. He is wonderfully kind, faithful, and generous. He allowed the youth program to become a large presence and an important part of the program.

How old does a child have to be to come to the Mission?

Out of diapers. That's the BabyStevie rule. We learned.

What does a child need to do to join?

We need to have a waiver filled out by a parent. Kids, we know your handwriting. Please don't try that again.

Can anyone volunteer?

We are super duper super safe with our children. So though we do have volunteers, there is a screening process. And we do background checks on all of our volunteers. If a volunteer has lived out of Pennsylvania in the past 10 years, they must have an FBI background check done. If the volunteer has not lived out of the state, we can do a background check onsite. The onsite check takes a day. The FBI one can take a few weeks.