More Visitors, Fewer Donations This Summer for MRM - | News, Weather & Sports in Billings, Montana

More Visitors, Fewer Donations This Summer for MRM

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The Montana Rescue Mission is hosting a parking lot sale this weekend to help curb the drop-off in donation dollars.

Fewer donations and more visitors are combining to make summer 2015 busier than normal. MRM Public Relations Manager Denise Smith says monetary donations always decrease in the summer, but this year, it's been a somewhat drastic drop-off.

She says the rescue mission is projecting a fifteen percent increase in people seeking shelter compared to 2014.

Smith says whether from the Bakken or elsewhere, more people are coming to Billings to find work, and the mission is experiencing it firsthand. Smith also says large donors, like gas and oil companies, are donating smaller amounts of money this year.

"Our largest contributors are the $25 a month here, or $5 a month there, but to not get those larger donations is a huge impact on us and our ability to serve the homeless," Smith said.

In order to help combat the funding issues, there's a parking lot sale this Saturday at MRM Bargain Stores on 24th and Grand Ave., and the store in the Heights. Items will be sold by the size of the box for $5, $10, or $20. 

"In addition to our numbers, the population has changed," Smith said. "Typically we see someone 30, 60, 90 days, but this population of guests are transitory, and our average stay is 21 days, so we're serving a lot of people.

"They're coming in for their meals and to sleep, and then finding work and moving on."

So far this year, MRM has served over 44,000 meals. They've provided shelter to almost 1,100 unique individuals, including 405 women and children, and 689 men since January.