A Beacon of Light Still Shines in the Darkness

Greg Armbruster
Published on January 21, 2020

A Beacon of Light Still Shines in the Darkness

TRM Ministries

The Topeka Rescue Mission (TRM Ministries) has been a light in the Topeka community since the early 1950’s. It has grown from a small storefront housing 20-30 men per night to a five-building operation serving thousands of homeless and hungry men, women and children each year. The timeline below shows the history of the Topeka Rescue Mission from its launch in 1953 and how it got to where it is today.

History of the Topeka Rescue Mission (TRM) Graphic made by Justin Armbruster

TRM Ministries embodies the values that the people of Topeka believe in and live by.  The values of “loving and serving your neighbor.”  Topekans who hold these values have been generous supporters of The Topeka Rescue Mission throughout its 60+ years. These values were beautifully displayed last Summer and Fall when TRM Ministries was experiencing financial problems.  During this time, the Topeka community stepped up to the plate and supported TRM Ministries in their most desperate hour. Over a 3-month period nearly 2 million dollars were raised by the Topeka community to help with this financial crisis.

5 things You May Not Know about TRM Ministries

1. Ending Homelessness through Education

TRM - If only the homeless problem was about only being homeless.

One misconception about TRM Ministries is that it just exists to provide food and shelter to the homeless. While that is at the core of what they do, they also work to end homelessness.  As the above cartoon shows the homeless consist of broken people. A large and very significant strategy of TRM Ministries is to heal the broken. They do this through a variety of ways. TRM Ministries heals the broken in the Topeka community through:

  • Education Services
  • Trauma Interventions
  •  Community Partner Collaboration.

You can read more about the specific Education Services TRM Ministries provides on their website.

2. Street Reach

TRM Ministries doesn’t just wait for individuals to come to them. Through Street Reach, TRM is going to them. Operation Street Reach is a program that locates “Campsites” and provides a number of services including, but not limited to:

  • The introduction of TRM Ministries and community services available
  • Food/water
  • Socks
  • Winter gear (hats/gloves)
  • Summer gear (insect repellent / sunscreen), etc.

Common places in which individuals are outreached and located include, but are not limited to: river banks, wooded areas, under bridges and in abandoned buildings. Since its inception, Operation Street Reach has successfully partnered with numerous agencies and churches within the community to assist individuals with housing, substance abuse treatment, mental and physical health services, food, clothing and other services.  There is a hotline available for anyone who knows of someone who needs help.  785-230-8237

3. Food by the Numbers

Everyone knows TRM Ministries provides food to those in need.  Did you know TRM Ministries is responsible for the planning, preparing and serving on average 24,000 meals per month in the Mission’s dining room, 7 days a week?  The food served consists primarily of food donations from generous members of the community.  Breakfast, lunch and dinner are provided Monday through Friday for free to anyone in need.  Two meals are served on the weekends and holidays. There are no criteria to receive a meal from the Mission.  For those Mission guests who are unable to be present during meal times, sack lunches are provided by written request.  Sack lunches are also kept on hand to feed others who come in who have a need.  Meeting this need requires making 1,200 sandwiches per week.


TRM 2019 Annual Report

  • Meals served from the kitchen – 277,839
  • Meals distributed through food boxes – 94,176
  • Food to partner agencies (# of meals) – 58,581
  • Food cost per meal – 14 cents
  • Total meals served and distributed – 430,596

4. Shelter by the Numbers

Not only does TRM Ministries feed those in need, they provide shelter as well. TRM Ministries strives to provide a safe, comfortable and hospitable shelter for those to reside in while in transition to permanent housing.  In 2019, TRM Ministries provided 2,108 individuals shelter with an average of 242 guests sheltered each night. While staying at the Mission Shelters, a host of other services may be provided as needed. These include but are not limited to: transportation, medical, clothing, food, education and training, budgeting, etc.


TRM 2019 Annual Report

  • Un-duplicated individuals who received shelter – 2,108
  • Men – 1,133
  • Women – 691
  • Children – 284
  • Total nights of shelter provided – 89,004
  • Individuals sheltered on average each night – 242
  • Highest number of guests on a given night – 304

5. Huge Christmas Shop Event

Every year since 1993 the TRM Ministries has held their annual Christmas Shop event! The Christmas Shop gives families the chance to select and choose their Christmas gifts vs TRM Ministries picking gifts for them. The Christmas Shop is set up with beautiful decorations and trees. The shop looks, feels, and smells like Christmas.  ALL the gifts at the event are brand new and are donated by the community.  There are toys, household items, clothes, general gift-types items, small appliances, etc. This event is very special to TRM Ministries and something both staff and families look forward to every year. This year TRM Ministries served nearly 3000 people and distributed well over 10,000 gifts!

TRM Ministries has had steadfast leadership from their Executive Director Barry Feaker since 1986.   TRM has historically not received money from any government entities.  They believe TRM Ministries operates at its best when members of the community take ownership of their Mission. History has shown that when Rescue Missions across the country begin to take government funds, members of the community tend to contribute less, thinking the government will take care of everything.  TRM Ministries needs the support of the community and here’s how you can help!


How you can help?

You can support the Topeka Rescue Mission through financial donations. TRM accepts one time gifts but reoccurring monthly gifts would be the most helpful. You can also support with your time. If you have an interest in volunteering at TRM they always have a great need serving meals and helping with events. For more information about TRM Ministries check out their website and FAQ page!

About the Author:

The above article Topeka Rescue Mission – A Beacon of Light Still Shines In The Darkness was written by Justin Armbruster and Greg Armbruster of the Armbruster Team at RE/MAX Associates of Topeka, local leaders in Topeka Real Estate, Marketing, and Social Media. You can contact the Armbruster Team at (785) 554-3997 or through this form. They have helped hundreds of people buy and sell homes in the Topeka area for years, and would love the opportunity to help you as well.

Are you thinking about selling your home? They have a passion for listing and selling homes in Topeka and would love the chance to use their expertise in Real Estate, Marketing, and Social Media to help you sell or buy yours! Are you interested in buying a home? Give the Armbruster Team a call. They have helped people buy and sell real estate in the all of the following Topeka School Districts:

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