what you need to know about:
me and the rework project
How Did I Get Here?
My name is Allison. I’m originally from east Tennessee and until I moved to Austin in December of 2010, I’d never lived more than two hours from where I grew up. I grew up going to church and have had a relationship with God on some level ever since I can remember. However, as I got older being a Christian felt like a heavier burden to me. There were things about church I didn’t like and my heart was in constant turmoil. I was looking for fulfillment but it seemed forever unattainable.
I came to Austin on what I thought was just a cool adventure and chance to do something different. But what I stumbled across when I got here was a new idea of what it meant to be a Christian. I found a new desire for growing spiritually and a church community dedicated to helping me do it. As Jesus started changing me one thing I realized was my responsibility to reach others and I knew this included the homeless population.
Austin Has a Need
This city has a very large and in your face homeless population. Austin, and a big city in general, was a culture shock for me in many ways but I was not at all used to seeing people flying signs and panhandling for money at every other street corner. It was hard for me to just grow cold to these people but for one I couldn’t give out money to every one of them and I also struggled – and I assume many people do – with if and how giving someone a dollar is truly helping them. This problem had apparently been on the heart of some people in my church as well.
We Have A Response
As my church began considering how to respond to the homeless in our community, the ReWork Project was born. As more and more homeless people started attending our Sunday services, I became interested in learning more about it. I was particularly inspired by the story of a homeless man named Danny who attended our church for a while. He was the type of person that it was hard to even be optimistic about..crippled, disabled, and just the epitome of hopeless… But, today he is off the streets and with his family, and not because someone gave him money or a job.. but ultimately because of a few very important relationships.
Our Purpose and Our Beginning
The importance of relationship in Danny’s story reflects well the idea of ReWork. Our primary focus is on about 15 people at a time so that we can maintain very intentional relationships with them while providing them with the dignified opportunity to work. We want to give them the encouragement they need as well as the resources necessary to help transition them back into “normal life.” All the while providing relationships centered on Christ, who changes everything.
So, a couple of guys from my church found that among the homeless population, talent is common but opportunity.. especially in the absence of a daily shower, clean clothes, and transportation.. is not. In the summer of 2011 they started ReWork Project with an empty 2200 square foot warehouse in a business plaza. In our warehouse over the span of a year we built storage, a woodshop, a sewing/crafts space, and an art space. The space was built out of almost all donated/previously-used materials and with the help of some of our homeless friends that actually know how to build.
How It Works
It starts with getting as much donated material as possible, largely previously used items that can be broken down and made into something new. With these materials, homeless men and women (or “Reworkers”) can come in and use their talents to create. We help them sell their items and they get all of the profit. Right now we sell things by taking stuff to little festivals or consignment shops. Also, after some guys built an awesome bedroom set out of pallet wood we inadvertently ended up with an ordering business for custom furniture. We have ideas for classes in the future, we are currently building a bathroom with shower and installing a washer/dryer, we have a couple of computers for job search etc, lunch for everyone on Fridays, and ultimately just want to be Christ to anyone that walks in the door. We also are working on starting a weekly devotional type time soon and want to make it easier for whoever is interested to incorporate more fully into our church and small groups, beyond just Sunday services.
My Part in All of This..
I basically just started showing up at Rework one day back in February 2012 to see if they needed any help. In May I was officially asked to pray about coming on full time because we needed another staff member. There are now officially two of us considered staff.
One year earlier I would have answered a definite “no” but God had spent the previous year or more slowly tricking me into actually wanting to serve in a ministry and equipping me for it as well. Specifically, this one. I can say with complete confidence this is where I’m supposed to be and can look back now and see how many little things God used to lead me here and prepare me for it.
My day to day responsibilities right now include helping to finish building out our warehouse space, creating and utilizing our order system, talking reworkers into taking on projects, pricing and finding avenues to sell our items, listening to people’s stories, advocating for our cause, organizing our payment and paycheck system as items are sold and workers are paid, and whatever else needs to be done. My title is “Assistant Director” which right now means I take on whatever needs taking on. I also get to assist in determining the ever-changing and growing vision of ReWork Project. I am currently working 3-4 full days a week at ReWork, plus time spent at festivals, and spending 1-2 days on fundraising. As I start to meet my monthly funding goal I will be able to spend less time fundraising and more on ReWork responsibilities.
To be honest it was easy for me to jump at the opportunity to be full time at ReWork, the reality check came with the “raising my own support” catch to the job, as ReWork is currently unable to financially support any staff. But the simple answer is that God put me here and raising funds is the only way to stay so it’s just what I have to do, and it only makes sense that He will provide.
I’ve learned that God often provides for our needs through His people, I believe my part in this is simply to inform His people of a need and see what happens.
I appreciate your interest in what I am doing and am grateful for your time. If you are interested in partnering with me, there are 3 ways you can do it:
- Financially – Put frankly, continuous monthly giving -no matter how small- is more ideal than a larger one time special gift. That being said, special gifts are no less appreciated. Monthly giving however enables me to budget and will allow me to stop fundraising and spend all my time at ReWork once I hit my goal amount. All financial gifts are tax deductible. Click Here for more info on how to give.
- Prayer – For my fundraising and for the ReWork Project itself. Prayer is something I really believe in and believe is vital to carrying out God’s plan.
- Contacts – I would love names, phone numbers, and e-mails of anyone you know that may be interested in hearing about the ReWork Project. I am willing to get in touch with anybody and when possible, meet with them in person, to tell them about this ministry.
Thank you again for your time and interest, please consider partnering with me. If you have any questions, feel free to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 423-715-0510.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
2 Cor. 12:9