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Throughout his career with the Macon Police Department, Sergeant A.E. McGee was tasked with arresting what the city deemed as “drunks” and “vagrants,” people on the streets of Macon, Georgia, whom suffered from addictions and homelessness. With nowhere to go and little hope of receiving any real help with the issues they faced, these individuals were caught in a cycle – repeatedly jailed, released back into the same circumstances, and then jailed again and again. Sergeant McGee believed that there had to be an alternative – a way to provide a path of hope and redemption to people who were seen, at the time, as lost causes.
In 1952, Sergeant McGee began to take in these men that he was ordered to arrest, inviting them to his home where he provided food, shelter, and spiritual counsel. Through Sergeant McGee’s love, compassion, and guidance, many of these supposed “lost souls” were able to completely turn their lives around. Though the results were evident, Macon, much like the rest of the country, stubbornly ignored the plight of those suffering from addictions and homelessness. Succumbing to public inertia, Sergeant McGee eventually stopped his work, but not before inspiring a movement in Macon that would eventually grow into the Macon Rescue Mission.
Inspired by Sergeant McGee’s act of rebellious kindness, the idea of a place of hope and redemption for the hurting of this community was revived by the Mission’s first superintendent, Rev. J. Robert Moon and his fellow business leaders. In January 1956, the Macon Rescue Mission, Inc. was chartered in Bibb Superior Court as a non-profit corporation for the primary purpose of “rehabilitating fallen persons,” the first of its kind in Middle Georgia.
In the late fifties, Charlie Rushin donated a 100-acre farm to be used for the rehabilitation of alcoholics. Located seventeen miles from downtown Macon, this land was used in addition to the downtown shelter. A dormitory and related units were built on the property and the “farm” was quickly occupied by the residents.
Years later, because of the remote location, the “farm” land and building were sold. The Mission moved to the four-story building at 500 Broadway and the corner of Poplar Street. This historic location with the sign “Jesus Cares” on the roof quickly became a Macon landmark and a source of hope and inspiration for all of Macon.
It was in this building in the late 70s that the Mission opened its doors to children who were victims of sexual assault. A neutral ground, police conducted interviews with the victims in a safe and welcome environment away from the often intimidating and chaotic atmosphere of the police station. This would eventually grow into a program dedicated to providing refuge and hope to women and their children fleeing domestic violence. Opened in 1981, the Women’s Division became the first domestic violence shelter in Middle Georgia, occupying an entire floor of the Broadway facility.
Though the Mission was saving lives, the needs of the Middle Georgia area increased every day. In order to help more people, expansion was needed. In 2000, through the generosity of this community, Executive Director Dr. Wayne Bevill and the Board of Directors acquired land and built the Mission’s current 20,000 square foot facility at the corner of First and Hazel Streets. The building was designed to expand the capacity of the Mission, with six sleeping rooms for males and seven rooms for female domestic violence victims and their children. The new facility included a full service commercial kitchen, cafeteria, and food pantry to address issues of hunger not just for its residents, but the surrounding area. The Mission expanded its programs to include the distribution of meals and hygiene kits, and today serves approximately 90 people dinner in its Daily Bread meal program.
In 2004, the Mission acquired the land located at 3375 Napier Avenue, which is the location of our Bargain Center Thrift Store. In addition to providing revenue for the services provided by the Mission, the Bargain Center provides the Mission the ability to distribute clothing, furniture, and appliances to those in need in the community.
The scope of our work has also grown far beyond the initial focus of only serving citizens of Macon that are in need. Our programs now reach into 17 surrounding counties with individuals coming through our doors from all over the United States. To reflect this changing demographic of those we serve, the Macon Rescue Mission officially re-branded itself to the Rescue Mission of Middle Georgia in 2013.
We moved to our new location at 6601 Zebulon Rd, Macon, GA 31220 in 2019. A page update will be coming soon!