Mrs. Florence Holzschuh and Mrs. Helen Durdel began serving donuts and coffee in a storefront on SW Adams Street because of the burden they felt for homeless men on the streets of Peoria. In October of 1955, these ladies met with the Ministerial Assocation, asking them to organize a Rescue Mission Board and accept full responsibility for the administration of the Mission. In November of the same year, a constitution was adopted and Board of Directors selected. The original board was led by Rev. Harry Newcomb, President; Rev. Dale Harris, Vice-President; Rev. Gordon Blenkhorn, Secretary; and Donald Faught, Treasurer.
As God blessed their work during the next few years, a residential program for sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ with homeless men became what is known today as Peoria Rescue Mission.
In 1968, our Executive Director, Rev. Jerry Trecek, and his wife Barbara came to a run-down storefront building on SW Adams where they lived in part of the upstairs. God has abundantly blessed, and in 1985, the present building was constructed. Today we have nearly 100 beds, and provide clothing, food, and overnight lodging to several dozen men every night of the year, while faithfully sharing the gospel each day.
Peoria Rescue Mission relies on the people of the community to supply food, clothing, monetary donations, and to volunteer to help those in need.
A farm in rural Peoria County was donated in 1965 and today accommodates a residential program for men. These men make at least a 120-day commitment to seek God's help and healing of various forms of addictive behavior. Through counseling, Bible teaching, personal Bible studies, and learning to work and live with others, these men have the opportunity to make major life changes. Known as Victory Acres, it uses a unique arrangement of restoration of wood pallets in the work part of the program.
In 1987, a need was seen to minister to women experiencing an unplanned pregnancy, or recovering from post-abortion trauma. The Women's Pregnancy Center, at 1825 N. Knoxville in Peoria, ministers to almost 300 clients a month with free pregnancy tests, sonography, baby food, diapers, clothing, etc. Abstinence classes are taught in more than 80 public schools each year and much needed parenting classes are held regularly. This is only a brief summary of services offered.
Caring, trained Christian Counselors offer free Biblical instruction and encouragement to scores of clients of all ages, children, singles and families, who need God's help and perspective in solving the trials of life. The Barnabas Center was established in 1987 and is located at 1831 N. Knoxville in Peoria.
In 2004, the need for an in-house facility for women and women with children was met when Esther House was opened. God provided a 16,000 sq. foot facility located at 6847 N Allen Road in Peoria, which hundreds of volunteers completely refurbished. Esther House provides a safe, inviting environment where ladies can come to know Jesus Christ and grow in their daily walk with Him. The teachings of Biblical principles and helpful day-to-day life skills allow them to realize their potential as productive, self-sustaining members of our community.
Peoria Rescue Ministries has grown from a storefront to a thriving ministry that is greatly blessed. God has provided many staff members, board members, volunteers, donors, and churches to grow Peoria Rescue Ministries into a multifaceted ministry serving the entire Central Illinois community.