Wenatchee Rescue Mission

Wenatchee Rescue Mission: Executive Director Phil Schultz has positive visions, plans for area homeless


Story and photos by Gary Bégin

Hailing from Pennsylvania, new Wenatchee Rescue Mission Executive Director Phil Schultz understands what it is like to live in a diverse cultural landscape, so the demographics of his clients do not shock him or cloud his mission.

The new boss of this longtime Wenatchee institution speaks from personal experience and doesn’t mince his words.

Why do stories like these appear in a business journal? The WBJ is always happy to laud companies for their community involvement … and good public relations results when companies sponsor charitable programs and groups.

The Wenatchee Business Journal sat down with Phil for a brief chat about how he envisions the future of this home for the homeless. Formerly known as Hospitality Ministries, the Mission is dedicated to helping the least fortunate among us evidenced by its motto, “Where Jesus heals hurting people.”

Here is the interview:

Wenatchee Business Journal: When did you become the executive director of the Wenatchee Rescue Mission and when/why did the name change? 

Phil Schultz: I started my position on July 25.  We are loosely affiliated with CityGate Network which is a network of over 300 rescue missions across the U.S. and 10 in Washington.  Anyone from Seattle, Spokane, or Yakima would have a connection to the "rescue mission" phrase.

WBJ:  Do you vet prospective residents or just take anyone who needs shelter?

PS: We ask that individuals are not currently high or intoxicated.  We do a background check as we do not want to harbor fugitives.

WBJ:  Does the Rescue Mission search for the homeless or just take those who come to the door?

PS: I am convinced the homeless can spread information quicker than social media!  Once you start feeding and housing people word spreads rather quickly...no search needed.

WBJ: What has changed from years past now that you are in charge? 

PS: A) Fundraising - doing direct mail to be specific.  After 37 years of existence and the contributions this organization has made to Wenatchee Valley it is sad how we've had to operate on a shoestring budget.

B) Programming - we added a morning Chapel, several of our men are beginning to go to church, we will be starting a recovery class very soon, we restarted our fitness center, and our clothing area was cleaned out to make room for a Learning Center.

C) Facilities - I inherited 27 years of differed maintenance and we have begun making significant improvements to our facilities.  I recently put a number on the money needed - very close to $1.2 million.  There are a couple of opportunities for grants that will hopefully mostly cover this need.

WBJ: Explain to the layperson how you use Christ to help the clients. 

PS: We offer hand-ups, not hand-outs.  Due to our Christian faith, we have a very high view of humanity ... all humanity.  I've been around a lot of homeless individuals who can run intellectual circles around the average person.  Most of the homeless experienced physical, sexual, or emotional abuse as children and they never worked through their childhood trauma.  I believe that it is only through Jesus Christ can one really make peace with their past.  I'm an example!  I sold drugs on the streets outside north Philadelphia, could barely read and write at the age of 12, became a homeless teen, struggled with alcohol, loved to fight, and then I met Jesus.  Today, I've almost completed a Doctorate degree!  Our motto is "Where Jesus heals hurting people".

WBJ: Tell the readers the best way to donate to the Mission? Do you accept food, clothing and money? 

PS: You can give financially online. We no longer take clothing, we do accept food, but there are some stipulations - you can call (509) 663-4289 to learn about those.

WBJ: Are there opportunities to volunteer?  

PS: Yes!  We have office and maintenance needs.  We are always looking for groups to provide meals.  You can go to our website Wenatcheerescuemission.org to learn more.

WBJ: What is your background and how did you end up as ED? 

PS: You can see my bio on our website. I am the grandson of Irish and German immigrants who settled in Philadelphia about 120 years ago. 

As previously mentioned, I was a wicked person and then I met Jesus!  He radically transformed my life thirty years ago.  Furthermore, God blessed me with strong business acumen and I possess a Master of Divinity from a seminary - the marriage of the two is being an Executive Director of a Christian non-profit.  It is nothing short of miraculous at how God has used me to start and flip rescue missions.  I am very passionate about transforming the homeless for the glory of Jesus Christ.  Not too hard for generous donors to get excited about our outcomes.

The Wenatchee Rescue Mission is located at 1450 S. Wenatchee Avenue, adjacent to the Humane Society. Call 509-663-4289 for more information.



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