Clean LOAM cut“A Meal, A Bed, A Soul Well Fed”

The Anchorage Rescue Mission is a Christian organization and our purpose is to show God’s love through example and in a practical manner by providing for the needs of the homeless, poor and needy in our community. We are a safety net for those who find themselves without food, shelter, clothing or hope.

The Rescue Mission functions as an overnight shelter to house the homeless of our community in a safe, warm and welcoming environment. Most nights we sleep 100 souls. Our kitchen feeds the homeless, the working poor and needy families an average of 7,500 meals per month 365 days a year.

We offer a six month shelter accommodation for women returning to the work force and transitioning to permanent housing. A two year Life Skills program allows between 25-30 men an opportunity for recovery and reintegration back into a useful life at no personal cost.

We sustain a Creative Beginnings Art Recovery class. We also offer groups to support sobriety. We partner with other sister nonprofits and community agencies and with academia to provide as broad an exposure as possible to the resources helpful in rebuilding a sense of accomplishment and genuine community among those we serve.

The Mission also provides for laundry and shower services, limited medical care, counseling, GED completion and school supplies.

Our clothing room provides work clothing for men and women and for clothing that meets the needs of those living on the street. We also assist the working families in our neighborhood with children’s clothing and winter wear which often exceeds their budget.

We sponsor tea parties and bible studies for our women guests along with donor directed special events. We provided the local VA with space to screen our veterans for services.

Would you like to see the Mission and how it works from the inside? We would like to show you!

Personal and group tours may be scheduled on the first Thursday of each month. We frequently host professional groups, first responders, school and church groups and Mission partners.

With your permission, pictures are posted to our Facebook page and/or newsletter. Each participant will receive a small gift to remember the experience.

Contact Pastor John at jlamantia@anchoragerescue.org

Our Chapel service is nightly from 7:30-8:30 PM. Encouragement is provided from the truth of God’s word.

The Mission is entirely funded by donations from the community and takes no government funds.

We sincerely appreciate your interest and support. Should you bless us with your sponsorship we promise to never take your friendship for granted.

Pastor John T. LaMantia
Executive Director




It was September, dark enough already for the northern lights to illuminate the tent where Daniel Bates was living in the margins of Fairbanks. The weather was bleak, his life was bleak, and no amount of alcohol was numbing the bitterness of either.

“Drinking had taken over my life. I was pretty fed up with where I was at,” he said. “I was in the tent, cold. It was kind of an epiphany; I was like, ‘This is not the life God intended for me.’”

As a cook he had burned too many bridges in Fairbanks restaurants. Each time he tried to get sober and get his life back in order, he would land a new job and soon thereafter relapse, get drunk and get fired.

“I was not raised to live like that. I was always trying to get a job and get better,” he said. “I just couldn’t keep the bottle out of my mouth.”

Bates had heard some moving testimonies about the Anchorage Gospel Rescue Mission shelter and decided then to leave Fairbanks and the wreckage of his past behind to seek out the Rescue Mission. He crawled out of his tent and walked out of the woods.

“I left the sleeping bag and tent right where it was, in hopes I’d never return,” he said.

Privately funded & spiritually free

The Anchorage Gospel Rescue Mission shelters up to 100 homeless individuals every night, meeting emergent needs like safe beds, showers, laundry, fresh clothes and as many as 9,000 meals per month. For some it’s a revolving door. Many fall among the working poor. For those like Bates who are desperate to transform, the Rescue Mission also provides longer term transitional housing, life skills and GED courses, addiction treatment referrals, sobriety support groups, limited medical care, mental health counseling and more.

The cost for recipients, is nothing. The cost to the municipality and the state — to taxpayers, is nothing. The cost to the mission, is “right around $1 million a year,” according to Pastor John LaMantia, executive director and chaplain. The Rescue Mission, a 501(c)3 nonprofit, operates exclusively on donations and volunteers.

We would love to have their [state] money, but come on — we were the only two shelters in town not adversely affected by the governor’s decisions. We didn’t want the headache of it,” he said. “And we want to be free and clear of thinking about any of their restrictions.”

As such the Rescue Mission, as well as the privately funded Downtown Hope Center, were unscathed by the state budget crisis that imperiled Alaska’s other homeless shelters this summer. When Gov. Mike Dunleavy vetoed $3.6 million from the Homeless Assistance Program, halving its budget, other shelter operators were forced to cut services. Even nonprofits like Clare House and Brother Francis Shelter were reeling from the loss of state matching grants. Though state funding eventually was restored, advocates were left re-evaluating dependence on the mercurial state budget to fund outreaches for the poor and vulnerable.

When LaMantia surveys the badly outdated kitchen, where cooks including Bates prepare an average of 7,500 meals per month, and the small dining room, where mealtimes must be staggered to accommodate up to 100 people, he acknowledges that millions of state dollars could cover upgrades and even expansion. But he and the trustees have concluded it’s not worth the risk, or the restrictions. Instead they rely wholly on corporate sponsors, donations from churches, volunteer time and services, support from foundations and partnerships with other community organizations.

“We would love to have their [state] money, but come on — we were the only two shelters in town not adversely affected by the governor’s decisions. We didn’t want the headache of it,” he said. “And we want to be free and clear of thinking about any of their restrictions.”

Particularly they reject any restrictions on the expression and practice of their Christian faith. The Rescue Mission is faith-based, with the motto, “A Meal, A Bed, A Soul Well Fed.”

‘A different life is possible’

“In our chapel there’s a sign that says, ‘Faith does not make things easy. It makes them possible,’” LaMantia said. “People come to us, and when you look into their face, you realize you’re not looking into faces with any hope. They believe they have reached their lot in life — that this is their fate, this is who they are and all they are designed to be. We want them to know a different life is possible.”

The Rescue Mission was founded in 1965 in a small Assembly of God church before opening its current Tudor Road location in 1987. Though LaMantia, who has worked there since 2012, is an Assembly of God pastor, the Rescue Mission is nondenominational.

“I don’t care who you are or what you are or what your lifestyle has been, you are welcome in the front door of this mission. If you’re hungry and you need a place to sleep, we have a place for you,” he said. “Everything is free here. All we ask is that you sit for an hour and listen to the message of the Gospel.”

“We simply tell them what we know,” he added, “and they can receive it or reject it, their choice.”

‘I started changing pretty much the day I got here’

Even wasting away in that tent, Bates said his faith in Jesus from his Catholic upbringing was always important to him and largely the inspiration for him to seek a better life via the Rescue Mission.

Upon arrival he failed the mandatory breathalyzer test. The childhood friend who had driven him there from Fairbanks paid for a hotel room so he could sober up enough to enter. Inside the Rescue Mission, he said, he rededicated his life to Christ. On Sept. 20, almost exactly two years since he left his tent, Bates celebrated his graduation from the life skills program and two years of sobriety.

At his job in the shelter’s kitchen, he discovered a “newfound passion” for cooking in a position that is “more about serving others and not all about serving pretty food.” He’s renting a place on site, where his Rescue Mission friends and support network watch out for him and hold him accountable.

“It’s been nothing but a blessing. I knew [alcoholism] was a problem a long time ago, but I thought I knew how to fix it. You think you can just defeat it on your own,” Bates said. “Sometimes making that next right decision can be really tough. I had to change a lot of things I was doing. I started changing pretty much the day I got here.”

“We’ve done our part telling them [guests] the truth about Jesus,” LaMantia said. “I can’t take responsibility for how they act on it afterward, but they’re going back out there with a full stomach, a good night’s sleep and the Word in their heart.”

Click here to learn more about the Anchorage Gospel Rescue Mission.

To read this article in its webpage context, please go to Alaskawatchman.com

banana girl

I saw her in her ponytail and pink sneakers. She hugged a banana from the dinner cart to her chest before slipping it under her thin jacket. She gave me a child’s shy smile that grew into a sort of across the room embrace when she saw that her happiness made me happy too. It made me happy and sad in equal measure. I was grateful she was sharing our supper. I was sorry her family ran out of food because rent was so high.

At the Anchorage Gospel Rescue Mission we are God’s love on a mission. We are also the hands of the Anchorage community making beds, serving the soup and helping people find a future that does not include standing on a street corner with a sign.

We are a safety net for those who have no net. We serve over 8,000 meals a month often to working families who had an unexpected expense that drained their resources. To people in a new job but who have yet to receive a paycheck. To veterans needing housing and employment. To women who need a safe place to sleep while making a plan. To men who are looking for a way out of substance abuse. Our 100 beds are full every night in a clean, safe and supportive environment.

Our mission statement guides our work. A meal. A bed. A soul well fed. It is the well fed soul that discovers all the possibilities that come from living in God’s family. It is a new identity and it is not just who we are but whose we are. It is new life complete with new doors. Until that life emerges it is a hot meal, a warm bed and the right clothes for the season.

Picture yourself in need of our services. What if you had to start over from scratch? What might scratch look like? It is a sobering thought to think of having nothing, of feeling you are nothing. Some of our clients are the authors of their own troubles. Some are people who tried so hard to do things right but life happened. We are here for all of them.

We have been helping people to help themselves out of homelessness for almost half a century. We take no money from the government and we are supported by donations from the community we serve.

At this time we are seeking your financial support if that is something you wish to contribute. I can assure you that we will never take your partnership for granted and we will use your loving gesture fully in support of those who need it.

We would welcome you to schedule a tour with us. Let us show you, in person, who we are and why we need you to help us buy more bananas.

May the blessing of Almighty God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, bless and inspire your life, granting favor to all your endeavors.

In love, hope and gratitude,

Pastor John LaMantia

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Welcome to Anchorage Gospel Rescue Mission

We are a Christian organization whose purpose is to show God’s love through example in an entirely practical manner by providing for the needs of the homeless, poor and sometimes dysfunctional people of our community.

We do that by sleeping anywhere between 2,000 to  2,300 people each month as well as serving from 7,000 to 7,500 meals each month.

We are entirely a Faith based non-profit operation, not only in spiritual matters, but in all areas concerning material support. That translates into the fact that presently we receive no state or federal monies for our operations. We are entirely dependent upon you, our private donors for support, whether that be individuals, churches or businesses.

Doctrinally we are entirely Biblical in our approach to matters of Faith; believing not only in God’s existence but in His Triune co-existence as Father, Son, and  Holy Spirit.

We teach the Deity, Virgin Birth, Death, Resurrection and soon return of our Lord Jesus Christ.

We so appreciate your consideration for the work we do here in sheltering those who find themselves in adversity. Thank-you for your support, and may God continue to richly bless and meet every need that you may encounter.

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