What Makes This Place Special: Featuring Dave Callahan | By Christa Collier, Development Assistant
Last year 242,784 meals were served from the Las Vegas Rescue Mission, 31,669 emergency beds were provided on property, 1,535 individuals received free clothing and 264 clients in the recovery program were helped. Yet most in the Las Vegas valley don’t know much about the Mission nor what the non-profit does to help those within the community. I got to sit down with Dave Callahan, board member and a regular volunteer, to ask him about his experiences here at the Mission and what separates them from similar nonprofits.
Like many, Callahan wanted to do more than just give money when he learned about the Mission and how its functions help our community. “A group of us from Central Christian Church have been giving money to different causes every month for the past 7 years and it came to a point where we decided we needed to put ourselves where our money was going,” explained Callahan. “We made connections and friends here at the Mission and decided to continue volunteering here every week for the past 7 years.” Since then, Callahan has regularly volunteered in the Missions kitchen and helps pass out weekly food boxes during our Farmers to Families food box giveaways. “The whole idea of giving to God is more than just giving money and this place needs the extra help sometimes.”
Over the years volunteers, like Callahan, have seen first-hand the difference our Mission brings to those staying on property or in the community. One night before Covid-19 changed how the Missions evening meal was served, Callahan realized just how much those who come and stay on property appreciate seeing people who volunteer at the Mission. During that evening volunteer shift in the kitchen one of the shelter residents who had recognized Callahan approached him and said, “What you guys do is really amazing. We see you every week and it makes a difference–I realize someone gives a damn about me.” Still nostalgic about that memory Callahan responds, “It was one of those moments that reinforced that being here and helping can change people’s lives. We have to lean into it, monetarily and with volunteering.”
Standing as a beacon of hope, the Mission is more than just a non-profit that provides food for the Las Vegas community. What many don’t realize is that the Mission operates as the only shelter in Las Vegas that accommodates men, women, intact families and single fathers with a case manager to help guide the individual or family while on property. Along with our shelter program exists our 12-month on demand recovery program for those struggling with addiction. As a Christian-based drug and alcohol recovery treatment program, our state licensed clinicians offer clinical assessments, individual therapy, group therapy, and case management with discharge planning to make sure those who graduate the program are stable when entering back into the norms of society. “The staff here don’t care what the person might have done yesterday, what they care about is what the individual is going to do today and into their future,” stated Callahan. “All you have to do is look under the bridge here and see lots of people who could use the help we offer that tie into other services in the city of Vegas and Clark County. How do you counteract the whole rededication back into society thing? By giving them a life line when they walk out the door. So, when they decide it’s time to leave, they enter normal life successfully.”
Here at the Mission our programs and services are based on redemption, recovery and restoration. With those key points in mind we strive for those who stay with us to not only recover from their circumstances, but leave here having stable services available to them for a worthy and well planned out future ahead. With the help of our staff and volunteers like Callahan who genuinely care about the time they give; our Mission continues to strive, even during a hard time like the pandemic. “It comes down to the people that are here, the staff and how hard everyone works. Really without the people on staff who care and are motivated everyday this place would just be a bunch of buildings,” noted Callahan. “In spite of everything things get done here that change people’s lives and that in itself is amazing.”