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Pay It Forward: Idaho Falls Rescue Mission

Idaho Falls Rescue Mission
Todd Kunz
The Idaho Falls Rescue Mission is a place that fills the void for those in need or who have come upon temporary hard times.

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KXPI/KIFI) - The current economy is tough. There are food and housing expenses, and many others. But what if you don't have a place to live? News anchor Todd Kunz found a place that fills that void, and not many people know these situations exist in their own community. Time to Pay It Forward.

"It's not going down. It's going up," said Tyler Perkins, executive director of the Idaho Falls Rescue Mission, talking about the need for shelter. He has been the director for nearly nine years, so he has seen that need rise over that time span.

The rescue mission is more just a shelter with room and board. It is an umbrella organization of many services for those in need or who have come upon temporary hard times.

"This is the actual men's shelter and the living quarters is upstairs and then this is all part of the food ministry," said Perkins to Kunz, as he leads him down the stairs to basement storage.

"And this helps us feed all of the shelters and a lot of partner organizations," said Perkins, showing shelves full of donated food items.

Kunz dropped in during meal time to see where all the donated food goes. The shelter staff said they serve between 60 to 75 people, seven days per week, from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m.

Charles Hale has been the director operations for almost five years. He said they are near capacity recently in the men's shelter and are about 80% capacity in the women's shelter.

"The community is growing and with that growth, we are going to see that need grow as well," said Hale.

Perkins said there is no one main reason a person ends up here. He said the factors are many and quite random.

"Between addiction, relationship issues, marital problems, finances, employment, mental health is a huge one. Low income and affordable housing is pretty slim. There are just so many things that go into why somebody may or may not come through our doors," said Perkins.

Chrs Aspinall has been here two years as the director of development. He said that rise in need is one of the largest challenges to keep up with.

"Most of our funding comes from private individuals. We have very little government-based funding, very little grant money that we qualify for," said Aspinall.

This is a perfect time to Pay It Forward.

"Keeping that message out there that we're here and that we have this need," said Aspinall, his voice trailing off as a man enters the lobby.

"Hello guys," said the man.

"Hey," said Perkins.

"Hello," said Aspinall.

"Sorry to interrupt. My name is Jake (Baggaley.) I'm with Mountain America Credit Union. Charles, Tyler, Chris, great to meet you guys," said the man, shaking hands with each. "Well, I'm here today to Pay It Forward to you guys. We've heard about everything you guys have been doing for the community. The Idaho Falls Rescue Mission does a lot. I don't think everybody realizes how much you guys and all of your teams and all the donations put in an effort to help the community with the recovery and the restoration for people as they're out and about and  as they're needing help, helping the homeless with meals and shelter. Anyway, we just wanted to Pay It Forward to you guys today with $500," said Baggaley, pulling cash out of an envelope and handing it over to Perkins.

"Thank you so much," said Perkins.

"Anyway, thank you so much. So exciting. Really appreciate it," said Baggaley.

"Thank you," said Perkins.

"Thank you so much," said Aspinall.

"Yeah," said Baggaley.

"Wow. I don't know what to say. Kind of speechless. It means a lot. I mean, like Chris said, we're over 95% community funded, which means people giving out of their paychecks to support and keep us afloat. And so whether it's a dollar or $100, it means so much. And it goes so far to help us continue to help people," said Perkins.

The Idaho Falls Rescue Mission operates Serving Hope -- which is the meal program. It also operates the City of Refuge men's shelter, the Navigate Program -- which is the recovery and discipleship program. Also, the Ruth House women’s shelter, and The Haven women and children shelter.

The Idaho Falls Rescue Mission is located at 840 Park Avenue in downtown Idaho Falls. Management does accept donations and the staff is always looking for volunteers. The mission does have a Facebook page and a website. Each has the contact number and more information.

"Pay It Forward" stories air the second Wednesday of every month. If you know of a nonprofit organization or someone who deserves to be recognized for their contributions to the area, click on "News" then "Pay It Forward" under the menu stack at the top left of our homepage. Fill out the submission form, or send an email to news anchor Todd Kunz at

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Todd Kunz

Todd is an anchor for Local News 8.


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