The Great Falls Rescue Mission hosted its annual "back to school" rally on Sunday where they distributed 600 backpacks to families in need.
Executive Director Jim McCormick explained the mission’s goal is to alleviate the financial burden of buying back-to-school supplies: “We try and cater to...folks that are in need. so we try and keep it so that...there's no expense to them whatsoever."
For mother-of-four Dakota Nicholson, the Rescue Mission's efforts make a huge difference.
“Being able to have assistance like this and have those worry-free areas, so I don't have to worry about how I'm going to come up with all the money to buy all of my children backpacks and school supplies, that helps me be able to maintain other areas where finances are needed,” Nicholson said.
But the Rescue Mission has supplied her for more than just the school year.
“I had two of my four children took from me by Child Protective Services.”
But moving into the GFRM's Cameron Family Center helped redirect her path.
“Just coming into here I had a stable environment, I had a drug-free environment, the people that I was surrounded by were sober...those are all things this building guarantees.”
And soon she was able to reunite with her children.
“It was only just a couple of months before I was able to regain custody of the two that were taken by Child Protective Services.”
Now, in addition to raising her four children and niece, she's a leader with the Rescue Mission.
“God spoke something different into my life.”
The Rescue Mission has helped her fulfill duties to her family and faith.
“My relationship with Christ and my relationship with my children has just grown tremendously.”
After completing a year-long disciple path program toward complete sobriety, a stronger relationship with Christ, active ministry, and healing of her past issues, Nicholson leads other residents who have walked a similar path.