I have volunteered at Knox Area Rescue Ministry for about 10 years. I see the staff working hard to try and help the homeless, those caught in addiction, stranded travelers, and many more. They have a newl program called Launch to help empower the homeless to get back on their feet. Often when I am there every week, someone comes in who is homeless for the first time. They are scared, confused and overwhelmed. We help them find community resources to get back on their feet, provide them warm meals and a helping hand. I had a young man come in this week who had been paying rent to friends and come to find out they weren't paying the rent and all of them were evicted. He tried living in his car for four days and finally came to KARM. He was cold, scared and hungry. We provided him food immediately, a place to stay and will refer him to another agency for more help. No organization is perfect, but I see people who really care about helping those down and out on their luck.
I work in the Welcome Center(Crossroads) at KARM one afternoon a week. There are a variety of services in Crossroads. Just to name a few..
*People who come in for the first time are interviewed and provided an ID.
*There are phones and computers for their use and they pick up the mail they have sent there.
*People can pick up their mail and phone messages
*We provide referrals to other agencies
*Stranded travelers come into Crossroads to get assistance
*We have a van that provides rides to the health department and DHS and other agencies
*We provide information we have on available jobs and possible housing or other agencies that can be of help.
*We have a place people put their bags for safekeeping
*We send faxes, help people find numbers, addresses, directions and general information.
The people at Crossroads really care and want to help people who come in. They do the best they can to help people get on their feet and live a productive life.
KARM has gone from being a Mission of Hope to a Mission of MONEY. They were donated Toys from the Toys from Tots to be given to the children at the mission BUT KARM decided to SELL THEM for profit. If you have any doubt about this here is a link for you to see http://www.wate.com/story/16387413/donated-toys-for-tots-pulled-from-karm-thrift-store-shelves now are you going to believe a Military organization or a organization that got caught with their hand in the cookie jar. This isn't the first time I have seen something of this nature. Read the reviews on this link and I have donated coats to the Coats for Cold campaign and then seen them on the sales floor FOR SALE. I dropped them off in the box and the next day they were for sale at a price even more than I paid for the coats. There are so many stories of the greed and lack of Jesus in their organization anymore it is truly a sad day for Knoxville. Don't waste your time or your money because they MAKE MILLIONS a year. MILLIONS and then ask for more ! Mark 4:22 For there is nothing hid, which shall not be manifested; neither was any thing kept secret, but that it should come abroad.
KARM has spiraled out of control and chaos now is a daily occurrence in the "Mission District". KARM was formed as an emergency shelter but now is more of a flop house. Even KARM refer to those seeking shelters as residents. KARM once was a vital link that brought the homeless to resources that would then refocus their life and a better living. Now its just a place to seek a meal and a place to sleep. NO conditions, anyone, even the criminals on the run seek refuge there. KARM even has a policy that allows those that are homeless can sleep there but during the day the day they must leave. They wonder our neighborhoods breaking into our homes and cars, ward off customers with their aggressive panhandling and have affected the downtown and west sectors of town by luring hundred of homeless to Knoxville from all across the country. Then while the homeless eat beans on Tuesday night, directors and several other take home enormous salaries, salaries donated by kind hearted people then skimmed off the backs of the homeless. North Knoxville residents are ashamed of the state of affairs at our Mission. We are truly saddened.
Review from Guidestar
The CEO, Burt Rosen makes 6 figures from this homeless organization. The "residents" of KARM are simply warehoused with no mandatory case management, contrary to other homeless organizations. The residents take up sidewalk space outside the building.
Knox Area Rescue Ministries (KARM) is a wonderful place for emergency shelter for men, women and families, which includes a shower, clean beds, and three meals a day and free hair cuts by local cosmetologists. Their men and women's recovery programs include Bible-based teachings, mentors, classes covering many aspects of daily living, on-job training, and the Abundant Life Kitchen classes turning students into chef-material. We are impressed with this organization because they take NO Federal funds. This way they are allowed to introduce those they serve not only to a clean place to sleep and eat, but they do it in the 'name of Jesus'. For 2 1/2 years, my husband and I have served lunch meals every Monday, become volunteers on other occasions/events, and are excited to attend graduations of those in the recovery programs. We have a lot of respect for the staff and other volunteers; and have come to love the residents and overnight guests. Many of them have become our friends. We encourage them, pray with them, laugh and cry with them.
I have been a high impact volunteer at KARM for about 2 1/2 years . I started with an encounter meeting and was very excited about helping the needy. I began working in the Admin. Department one day a week. I love secretarial work and enjoy the challenges that come my way. My co-workers are wonderful, loving, and enthusiastic people who love the Lord with all their hearts. Last year I helped with the Tent of Hope on Thanksgiving Day and watched as many folks sat together to share a wonderful meal and companionship with each other. There are many opportunities to help at KARM. All it takes is a phone call and a willing spirit to help the downtroden. I enjoy being a part of this wonderful organization.
I have been involved with KARM as a 'high impact volunteer' since my 'acceptance' in November 2008. I love every moment I get to spend with the individuals at KARM, clients and staff alike. The mission of KARM and the programs they offer truly change lives. The word 'transform' is one I consistently think of. Awesome.
I volunteer once a week at the welcome center at KARM. To see the staff interaction with the clients in helping them find employment, housing, health care is uplifting. But what I truly enjoy is seeing each of the homeless clients being treated with love, dignity and respect. The first day they arrive they are given hope. One man looked completely dejected while I was there. The staff determined his concern about having a surgery scheduled for a kidney removal, and then having to recover while on the street. The staff found means of providing this man a bed and place to recover following his surgery. And then to my great delight, the next time I came in to volunteer, I discovered this gentleman had been placed in permanent housing. With over 200 homeless people a day coming through the welcome center at KARM, the personal touch provided to these people is a Godsend.
From the day I toured KARM, I was overwhelmed with the feeling of "hope" that prevails. Clients are hopeful, volunteers are hopeful, staff is hopeful, the programs and services are hopeful. Who couldn't use more of that? KARM doesn't "just" provide for the physical needs of clients, but they attempt to provide for the eventual transition from their current situation to one of living as normal a life as the rest of us do. They offer recovery programs, social services counseling, job skills training. They are the hands and feet of Jesus in a world so lacking. They offer, to those willing to accept it, dignity and salvation. I had had previously volunteered with an organization that seemed to want to maintain the status quo of those they served, as if to keep themselves alive. KARM isn't doing that. They have many success stories, many former clients are active in the organization, giving back. I can't say enough good things about KARM! Having attended the 50th Jubilee Celebration, I know that I am not alone in my sentiments. BRAVO, KARM! Your efforts help me be hopeful too!
I have lived in east Tennessee all my life and often heard about Knox Area Rescue Ministries through church or a radio announcement. I thought it was just a place for the homeless to get a hot meal and bed for the night. My church was involved with serving a meal with KARM and that left me wanting more information. After attending a KARM Encounter information meeting I wanted to be involved. That was about four years ago, and at that time I thought my wife and I showed great courage volunteering. Now we know the courageous people are the ones who make the commitment required to change their way of life. We see this change come about because of the power of God yes, but also a KARM staff that expects, desires and does an excellent work making a positive impact for the kingdom of God!