The Importance of Giving Back

Bob KuhlmanIn the late 1930s, Bill Wilson and Dr. Robert Smith, perhaps more familiarly known as “Bill W.” and “Dr. Bob,” received a letter from Carl Jung, the famous psychologist, explaining the missing piece for their new community of recovering alcoholics. What they needed, Jung wrote, was a way for members to give back by carrying the message of their own recovery. If they did that, Jung promised, their community would flourish. They listened to his advice, and today the community they founded, Alcoholics Anonymous, has transformed hundreds of millions of lives.

Giving back is also fundamental for our men’s recovery. They can’t find wholeness without it. As “Charlie,” one of the men who has been sober for almost 10 years, told us, “I learned that happiness is about loving God and serving others.” We make it a point to help the men find opportunities to give back.

Once a month some of our staff and several of our men head out to Oak Brook, an affluent Chicago suburb, to work in a food pantry run by Christ Church of Oak Brook (CCOB), one of our key church partners. When we started doing this, it struck many people as unusual: the clients of a ministry receiving support from a church going to help that church. To us, though, it makes perfect sense.

Most of our men have never lived outside of the city. They grew up thinking of the suburbs as a place where everyone is wealthy. They were shocked to learn that people also struggle with homelessness in the suburbs, even in places as well off as Oak Brook. When they volunteer at CCOB’s food pantry, our men feel the dignity and self-worth that comes from being of service. They experience being loved and appreciated. They are treated as equals—a powerful experience for men who are usually seen as “needy.” The people who run the food pantry couldn’t care less about their backgrounds. They know our men as helpful people who work hard, and they are tremendously grateful for them. We always come back from serving at CCOB feeling energized.

Just as we are blessed by opportunities like this to give back, we are blessed by the many people like you whose gifts of time, talents, and treasure make our work possible. We couldn’t run the Ministry Center or Outreach without dedicated volunteers giving their time to serve our men. We would have no ministry to speak of if not for the hundreds of people who support us financially. I can’t express enough gratitude for the way God works through the generosity of his people. I pray that you will continue to partner with us as we share the love and mercy of Jesus Christ with these men.

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Our Mission

To provide Christ-centered support to men seeking to escape survival prostitution and embrace a life of health and wholeness.


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Emmaus Ministries
4201 N Troy St
Chicago IL 60618

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Emmaus Ministries
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Wheaton IL 60187-0431


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