Providing Help and Hope for Homeless Women and Children

Open ArmsThe face of homelessness in America is changing. Instead of the stereotypical disheveled middle-aged man with a bottle in a bag, the typical homeless person today may be a young woman with a baby in her arms and a toddler at her side.

How you can help: You can give now to provide homeless women and single women with children an opportunity for a whole new life. And we have volunteer opportunities available.

KRM ministers to these women and children through Open Arms, which includes the following programs:

Crisis Shelter: Single women or single women with children enter Open Arms through a three-night crisis shelter program. After this, guests may choose not to stay, or to join our GROWING program.

GROWING (Graciously Restoring Our Women In Need of God): This program requires a commitment from the woman to set reasonable goals toward independent living and to actively pursue those goals. There are daily devotions, classes (such as Goal Setting, Managing Finances, and Job Search), and a computerized Learning Center (for improving computer skills and/or preparing for a GED exam). Residents must agree to keep their personal sleeping area clean, complete a housecleaning chore, and abide by a curfew. At 9:00 pm, after the children have been put to sleep, there is a Bible study.

WINGS (Women In Need of God’s Salvation): This one-year program is for women who want to take the time and effort to address underlying issues that caused her to be homeless. Women in the program have access to additional resources such as addiction recovery classes, individual and group counseling, GROWING in Christ discipleship classes, and other individualized help. WINGS also is descriptive of the nature and result of the program. Women who complete this program have been given the skills to live an independent and stable lifestyle.

March 13, 2018  WINGS Graduation!
L to R:  Kem-Director of Women’s Ministry, Amber-Asst. Director Women’s Ministry, Stephanie, Melissa-Open Arms Volunteer, Kim, Ashley, Marcy, Kelly-Open Arms Case Manager, and Van-Executive Director of the Mission.

Transitions: Single women who complete the WINGS program may qualify for an additional six-month stay in KRM’s Transitions house. Women in this program must be active in a church, and have a job and transportation. They pay 30 percent of their income in programming fees to get ready for the expenses of independent living. They have responsibilities in the house, and are accountable to the Women’s Ministry staff.

Success Story

The Real Life I Deserve — by Shonna

Read the inspiring story of a former Open Arms resident.





I don’t remember much good from my childhood.  All I remember is the tragic. My father was never around and my stepdad was really abusive.  Fortunately, I’ve blocked most of it out.

But every relationship I’ve been in since then was also physically and emotionally abusive.  I’ve been shot at, raped, and beaten.  I thought that whenever a guy hit me, it’s because he cared.  I thought I deserved everything a man did to me.

Then, when I was 29, I discovered pain medications.  When I took the very first pill, the pain I felt, my childhood, the abuse, it was all gone. I was instantly hooked.  Within a few years, I was shooting up 20 times a day — and I did that for years.  Nothing could stop me, not an overdose and a cardiac arrest,  not even years of sleeping on the streets, homeless.

I was a terrible person.  I did almost anything for drugs.  I was violent, manipulative, a liar, and a thief — I was arrested six times for stealing.

But the last time I went to prison, in 2014, I started going to church. One day, I felt God was talking to me.  I opened my Bible and read: “Since you are precious and honored in my sight, and because I love you, I will give people in exchange for you, nations in exchange for your life” (Isaiah 43:4). That’s when I gave my life to Jesus.  And when I left prison that November, I came straight to Open Arms.

Open Arms gave me the structure and stability I needed.  And they held me accountable for all my actions.  I’ve been surrounded by ladies who love me, and whenever I needed someone to talk to, no matter how crazy I got, they were there.  God used them to show me I was worth far more than the abuse I’d experienced.  And in the end, it’s that love, the relationships I made here, along with the grace they showed me here, that changed my life.  God loves me and lives in me.  That’s the life I deserve.

To read more success stories from KRM, please visit our Newsletter Page.

Providing Help and Hope for Homeless Men

Most homeless men are younger than you might think: 1 in 3 are 35 or younger. Some have held good jobs, while others can’t remember their last job. Some have mental or physical disability. Some have advanced degrees, while some can barely read. Many are addicted to drugs or alcohol. About 30 percent of them served honorably in the armed forces. All need help in putting the pieces of their lives together again.

Photo of Men’s Short-term Shelter

How you can help: You can give now to provide homeless men an opportunity for a whole new life. And we have volunteer opportunities available.

Short-term Shelter: Following an intake interview and introduction to our entry-level dormitory, our chaplains help the man assess his situation, begin to set goals and decide which program best meets his needs. If the man is employed, the transition program will allow him to stay at the mission and save a portion of his wages to prepare for living independently. He is also expected to attend chapel, one-on-one case management or counseling sessions with staff, and complete a community service assignment at the Mission, all coordinated with his work schedule.

“Overcomer” Program: In April 2016, the Men’s Ministry added a program for men who have stayed at KRM three or more times.  The “Overcomer” program is focused on helping the men address the issues which have contributed to their chronic homelessness.  This multi-level program has specific guidelines including more one-on-one counseling time with his designated chaplain.

It is our staff’s greatest desire to help our residential program guests gain wholeness and the skills to be successful in their lives after they leave the Mission.  The program has a minimum duration of three months with specific assignments including the man’s assigned job duties at the Mission.  The purpose of the program is for each person to examine why he continues to struggle, to develop a realistic plan, and to work through the steps with the counsel of the staff to succeed.

Work Rehabilitation: During this 90-day program, men are given community service work assignments on the Mission campus. This program allows participants to deal with personal issues in a structured environment, aided by one-on-one case management and counseling sessions with our men’s ministry staff, Bible studies, life-skills classes, and employment- readiness classes. An extension to the program may be given based on individual circumstances.

New Life: This program is for men who are struggling with addictions of any kind. This three-phase, Bible-based program requires a commitment to stay at the Mission for at least nine months. Through a variety of classes, community service assignments, participation in group sessions, Bible studies and counseling with staff, men achieve freedom from addiction, while preparing themselves for independent living.








August 2016 – New Life Graduate Nick (right) with Dave, Chief Ministry Officer

Education Opportunities: Every man at KRM has access to the education classes such as:  on-site classes, complete high school education, attend local college or vocational classes and participate in the Job Readiness Program.

Success Story

A moment in time…

Read the inspiring story of a former men’s shelter resident.

I came to the Kokomo Rescue Mission in spring 2015.  Like most of us, it wasn’t my first choice – but I felt it was my only choice.

I cam to the Mission after taking care of my dying mother for four and a half years before passed.  We had moved her to Tipton, to have my sister help.  She had been a hospice nurse.

I could not stay there. The house was full of drugs and discord.  After my mother’s passing, the same sister stole my inheritance.

I needed a drug-free environment, and the faith-based approach appealed to me. I also needed help getting to a doctor.  I had been on prescriptions since 1993, but missed almost a year, because I did not know how to apply in Indiana.

Don Burris took me in, and showed me kindness that I will never forget. He was patient with me.  I was very sick, a result of no medicine.

Every day, I was surrounded by the unique atmosphere of positive Christian messages, combined with a realistic approach to life. I began to heal – spiritually, mentally, and as I saw doctors, physically.  The last years of my mother’s decline had worn me to the bone.

As I healed, I entered into New Life, and spent more time with Derek Kidwell.  He blessed me with his smile, and friendship – rare gifts in today’s world.

There are times that a person needs shelter. I had been homeless 7 times because of my illnesses – but I wasn’t now. The Christian teaching revived my spirit – I had fallen out of fellowship in Ohio, taking care of my mother. But most of all – I felt like someone actually cared for me, as a human. I ate three meals a day. I worked in the kitchen, and then the night desk. Sometimes, people forget how simply doing a job well can help a damaged person restore a sense of self-worth.

My stay lasted about 4 months. I was entered into a program with Shelter Plus, and now had an apartment, just a block from the Mission. Many times I ate there, to remember, and to be with the people. Some folks might look down on them, but I had been humbled. I knew, before the eyes of my Creator, I was no different or better. 

Changing a life takes time. In the two years since, I have lost 75 pounds, and been healed to the extent that I no longer need prescriptions – something the doctors said would never happen. 

Miracles aren’t always a blind man seeing, or a cripple getting up and walking. Sometimes it is a matter of someone caring enough to weed out the garden, till the fallow ground, and plant seeds. The Mission did that for me, and I will never forget it.

Blessings continue to grow in my life. I now own half a dozen small businesses, which I hope to grow. I have dreams of prospering, and donating to the Mission. I want to support this good work, and give back to those who helped me.

I don’t know any way you can help a man that is better than the Mission, given the diversity of characters that flow through there. They will always have my thanks, and prayers for continued success. As I prepare to leave Kokomo for the next chapter in my life, I am reminded of these special words, which I repeat to the staff and men there now:

“Well done, my good and faithful servant. Well done!”                 -James

On the Right Path

Read the inspiring story of a former men’s shelter resident.

success-story-tomBlue scrubs with light stains from a hard day’s work are worn by this “Employee of the Month.” On May 28, 2013, Tom Horton was recognized by Fairmont Rehabilitation Center here in Kokomo for excellence in his work. Getting to this place in Tom’s life wasn’t easy. Tom has dealt with many roadblocks on his journey, but he has been successfully working to get to this point. Tom acknowledges Kokomo Rescue Mission’s part in his success today.

After Tom’s mother’s health took a turn for the worst, he realized he needed to be on his own and learn to be self-sufficient. Tom visited the Rescue Mission and thought it might be a good place to start fresh, learn new skills and become acclimated to supporting himself. In March 2011, Tom moved in and began working in the kitchen as part of his training and daily chore activity.

Through Bible study, relationship building and many days and hours of learning new skills, Tom was ready to look for a job outside of the Mission. He continued to live at the Mission while he worked outside of the facility. Many individuals have helped Tom gain self-confidence, a solid work ethic and the ability to become self-sufficient. He credits the Mission’s kitchen staff, the chaplains, and especially his relationship with the Lord. Without his relationship with Christ, he believes he wouldn’t be where he is today. These individuals urged him to take baby steps in his daily work and in his journey with Christ.

Tom was able to leave the Mission in August 2012. He now shares an apartment with a friend and works full time at Fairmont Rehabilitation center. He loves his job and is grateful to God every day for it. He understands the importance of keeping himself focused on Christ and attending his church, Calvary Baptist, weekly. He knows the baby steps he took to reinvent himself at the Mission are what helps him be the success he is today. “Relationships matter!” he said. “They (the Mission) gave me a chance to be successful in the little things I did, which gave me confidence to do bigger things; it was a real turning point for me.”

Tom’s life is different today. He visits his mother regularly, hoping one day she will be able to come home and take care of herself. Until then, he will do all he can to help her, but will continue to grow and focus on what God has called him to do and be. He is dating a very sweet young lady. “God is good!” he said.


To read more success stories from KRM, please visit our Newsletter Page.


Kokomo Rescue Mission offers a variety of ministries to the community, including feeding programs, Thanksgiving and Christmas events, Clinton County outreach, and more.

Feeding the Hungry

In 2016, KRM served 127,631 meals to hungry men, women, and children, and provided groceries for over 775 families.

Hot, nutritious meals are available to the public twice daily in the Mission’s dining room. Lunch is served at 12 noon, supper at 4:30 pm. These meals are open to anyone who needs a meal. For guests in the Mission’s shelters, three meals are served every day.

Grocery and Clothing Vouchers: Groceries and Clothing Vouchers are distributed at the Mission’s Main Office (at 321 W. Mulberry St) through the Assistance Office.  To apply for assistance the following items are needed:

  • Photo Id for the person making the application
  • Social Security Card for each member of the household
  • Proof of Income – any ONE of the following items:
    • Previous year’s IRS 1040 form.
    • Letter from Family Service showing approval for Food Stamps (SNAP) and the date approved.
    • Current Food Stamp (SNAP) card AND a grocery receipt less than 30 days old showing a balance greater than $0.00.
    • A recent award letter from Medicaid, TANF, WIC, SSI or SSD OR a letter stating the application has been filed for government assistance.
    • A copy of applicant’s lease or most recent re-certification letter showing the applicant is living in subsidized housing.

The Assistance Office Hours are:
Monday – Thursday  9:30 am – 2:00 pm by Appointment ONLY.
Appointments can be made by calling our Main Office at: 765-456-3838
or in person during regular business hours:
Monday 9:30 AM to 4 PM and Tuesday through Friday 8 AM to 4 PM.
Our office is located at 321 W. Mulberry Street, Kokomo, IN 46901

Food to You: KRM’s mobile food pantry distributes groceries every Wednesday in Kokomo neighborhoods where no pantry is within walking distance. Here’s the monthly schedule:

  • 1st Wednesday – Reformation Faith Ministries  12 – 1PM  (1300 S. Courtland Ave.)
  • 2nd Wednesday – Carver Community Center  12 – 2 PM  (1030 N Purdum)
  • 3rd Wednesday – Kokomo Regency Trailer Park  12 – 1 PM  (4508 E 200 S)
  • 4th Wednesday – Pine Valley Apartments Community Rm 12 – 1 PM

You can volunteer to help feed our hungry neighbors, or provide needed meals today by giving online through our secure server.

Red Ribbon Christmas

Kokomo Rescue Mission’s Red Ribbon Christmas Outreach provides boxes of toys, gifts, food and toiletries for families throughout the six-county area served by the Mission.

Volunteers fill the boxes with gifts appropriate for the age and gender of each family member. Each person receives a new gift purchased by the Mission, and extra gifts lovingly reconditioned by volunteers throughout the year.

When the box has been filled with gifts for the family, it is taken to a Christmas Warehouse where volunteers wrap the gifts. Boxes are also delivered to homes by volunteers.

In 2017, Red Ribbon Christmas boxes were delivered to 680 families and 1,932 people overall. A special thanks to the We Care organization, which donated $105,000 in 2017 to help make this outreach possible.

Volunteer with Us!







If you’d like to help with this year’s Red Ribbon Christmas Outreach, please check back here in September to find dates, times, locations, and volunteer application info. Volunteer drivers must complete this form, and arrive with a copy of their license and proof of insurance.

If you’d like to be a recipient of a Red Ribbon Christmas Box, please click here to see what documents you’ll need.  To find out the locations of where applications are being taken please click here click on Christmas Application Dates 2017.

For further information, please contact KRM’s Special Events and Volunteer Coordinator at (765) 456-3838.

Thanksgiving Banquet

Sometimes the first step toward a changed life is a simple meal — and for many of our hungry, homeless, and/or hurting neighbors, that process begins with a Thanksgiving dinner. It’s one of Kokomo Rescue Mission’s biggest annual events (we expect to serve some 600 meals this Thanksgiving), and it’s a beacon of God’s love to the community.

Meal time and location

At Grace United Methodist Church, a traditional Thanksgiving meal will be delivered to shut-ins at 10:00 am and dinner will be served at the church’s fellowship hall on Thanksgiving Day, from 11:30 am – 1:00 pm.

How you can help You can donate food for the big event. To prepare and serve 600 meals, we’ll need:

  • 24 Large Turkeys
  • 8 Hams
  • 40 – #10 Cans Green Beans
  • 40 – #10 Cans Corn
  • 600 Servings of Potatoes (instant)
  • 600 Dinner Rolls
  • Coffee

To volunteer on Thanksgiving Day, please call the Special Events Coordinator at (765) 456-3838. Call early because volunteer positions fill quickly.

Serving LineThanksgiving prep workFamily

Clinton County Ministry of Hope

The Clinton County Ministry of Hope, which started in 2007 as an outreach of the Kokomo Rescue Mission, existed to serve the poor and needy in the Clinton County area in the name of Christ.

  • EFFECTIVE May 1, 2017, there will no longer be grocery nights or free meals served at the Neighborhood Center.


Christmas Outreach: KRM takes applications in Frankfort for the Red Ribbon Christmas program. Those who qualify will receive a box with food and gifts for each member of the family.

Volunteer for any of the Outreach Services by going to our Volunteer page.