Union Rescue Mission 5k Hits Fundraising Goal with Help of ‘Average Joe’

Originally published on Together LA.

Perhaps the success of the Union Rescue Mission’s first 5k Walk fundraiser held on Saturday (June 2, 2018) can not be fully gauged by the half million dollars raised (so far) by hundreds of participants, but by the increased level of community involvement.

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW
The walk helped the Christian organization that tackles homelessness to move from tapping solely into the rich and famous for funds to inviting the “Average Joe” to be part of the process. A process that includes a leader and partners with epic dreams.

Union Rescue Mission 5k Hits Fundraising Goal with Help of ‘Average Joe’Union Rescue Mission 5kUnion Rescue Mission CEO, Rev. Andrew Bales told Together LA earlier in the week, before the 5k, that the course had to circle LA Live three times rather than having to force businesses on another planned route to shut down for a few hours.

Sponsors at the event’s start and finish line manning booths in between the Staples Center and Microsoft Theater included financial giants like Wells Fargo, Costco, and Herbalife, but there was also a prayer tent hosted by a small Downtown LA church.

A Christian musical group dubbed “The URM Band” led those awaiting the start of the walk in worship and the atmosphere was filled with joy amongst a backdrop of iconic symbols of financial power. The irony was not lost in the small sea of Average Joes.

TLA’s interview with Bales below reveals some of the dynamics of homelessness in the city and the Mission’s plans for the future.

Together LA: Let’s start with the 5K. How did the 5K idea come about?

Rev. Andrew Bales: So the vision I had was while walking from wherever to Skid Row and back. Richard Newcomb, our board member has helped other groups do successful 5Ks. In fact, he does a 5K every year in New Orleans that he does in honor of his dad.

And so years ago, I wanted to do a mud run or something like that and the idea didn’t go over well with our team at that time. But, when Richard came on our board a few years ago and then we had a partner in this idea, we finally had the courage to try to pull it off. So, it really came from Richard and I and his vision for Union Rescue Mission to have a event where the “Average Joe” like us can participate rather than showing up and spending a lot on a ticket to a gala.

TLA: So, prior to this 5K what was your major fundraiser for URM?

Bales: It’s been our Hearts for Hope fundraiser for Hope Gardens, our site for families out in Sylmar. And we did it for many years at the Four Seasons Hotel. [The fundraiser] started as a fashion show and then became like an entertainment night. The last one we had was at the Beverly Hilton and we actually had Angela Bassett as our emcee (or host) for the night.

Our most successful event ever was this Sports LA event at the Hilton three or four years ago where we raised 4.3 million. It wasn’t an URM-hosted event, but we were the beneficiaries. Then, we did our 125th anniversary fall gala at the Beverly Hilton. So, most of our big events have been, you know, kind of expensive.

TLA: If you were to have a dream list fulfilled in regards to your ministry what would that be or what would you like to see happen?

Bales: Well, we’re busy trying to pull off some of our dreams right now. We’re putting up a sprung structure in our back parking lot.

TLA: I’m sorry, what’s a sprung structure?

Bales: A sprung structure is heated and air conditioned and it’s more like a permanent tent. It’s not really tent, but it’s like one of those things that people put up to set up a driving range or you know, or hotel puts out for a reception area.

It’s a inexpensive, quick way to respond to the need and it’s going to be for 136 single ladies, it’s going to be in our back parking lot (in the city) because of what we’re doing. The city was encouraged by the Urban Land Institute to model something like we’re doing and to put four sprung structures in every district, 15 districts of the city. But they’ve chosen only to do one at this point. We hope that by us doing our sprung structure that we inspire others to get to that point where we have four in each district by the end of the year, that we put a roof over 13,000 people. I know we need to do more than that, but, but at least that’s a start.

And then we also are putting up a satellite [facility] in south LA County that’ll be like a mini Union Rescue Mission, about 80,000 square feet for 80 families. It will be for 320 total people, so that people in South LA don’t have to come to Skid Row for help. They can go to South LA. We already have Hope Gardens out in Sylmar for over 60 families, moms and kids, and also 24 senior ladies in permanent supportive housing. And what we want to do is have regionalized services in each area of LA County, decentralize Skid Row so that people in every part of LA County can, you know, if they lose their home, they can go right in their own neighborhood and get help and neighborhoods will help their own neighbors so everybody doesn’t have to come to the mean streets of Skid Row.

Then, I would like to create affordable smaller homes. There is a way to do 3D printing, concrete homes that have a bathroom, kitchen, 660 square feet for $10,000 each. And so I, I’d really like to create some neighborhoods of affordable housing that any income could afford to own. So, those are some of the dreams that we have.

TLA: Where would the land be for the homes?

Bales: We have some land. We have 77 acres out in Sylmar and then we have a donor who has 80 other parcels that I’ve been trying to get a hold of. And then, perhaps we have to go as far as Palmdale and Lancaster. The city owns many parcels of land and the Metro Rail owns lots of land.

Union Rescue Mission 5k Hits Fundraising Goal with Help of ‘Average Joe’ 1TLA: How, how has your relationship been with the city? It must be pretty good.

Bales: Pretty good. However, they can’t fund us. They won’t fund us. City and County won’t fund us because of our faith. But we have helped model what needs to be done. If you were to call the county 211 number and say, “I’m a dad and mom with three kids,” they’d say the only place to go is Union Rescue Mission. So, they know what we do and respect us and count on us to come through. We never turn away a family with children who comes through our door. We never turn away a woman, a single woman who comes to our door. Rarely would we ever turn away a man. Every night the police call me and see how many bunks we have open and I will never tell them that we have no bunks. So, really we never turn away a man either and that makes us a very unique mission. We’re the only rescue mission that welcomes single men, single women, moms with kids, dads with kids and two parent families with kids.

TLA: In a video recently released to promote the 5k you mention how the situation is pretty grave. It’s gotten worse. What would you tell just the average person that looks at the homeless situation, sees that it looks pretty hopeless. How do we address the homeless situation?

Bales: If we all work together, we could be like New York City, that puts a roof over 95% of the people experiencing homelessness and is embarrassed about the 5% that are still on the streets. And it’s really an all out, all hands on deck, emergency approach. If we were like that, we would see a different city and we’d live up to be in the City of Angels.

In LA, we only put a roof over 25% of people experiencing homelessness and we leave 75% out on the streets, which is destroying and devouring those people. We come up with a lot of excuses. I mean, you know, like the weather is good so people come here. That is an absolute myth and an absolutely false excuse. The majority of people on the streets of LA are Angelenos, longtime Angelenos. You can die from the weather on the streets. We know people who’ve died on the streets of LA. So there’s really no excuse not to act now.

Even the excuse that many Christians use, you know, “The poor you’ll always have with you.” But the problem is they’re not finishing the verse, “The poor you’ll always have with you, so be kind to them every day.” Jesus in that verse is quoting Deuteronomy 15. It says, “The poor you’ll always have with you, so be kind to them everyday and lend them a hand and lift them out of poverty.” It’s an action verse, not an excuse verse, and we turn it into an excuse like the homeless you’ll always have with you. Well, that’s not what needs to be communicated.

We could live in the city where not one precious human being lives on the streets. And I would love to be part of making that happen in Los Angeles. That would really be the ultimate dream for me. That before I’m gone from this earth that we didn’t wait for heaven to address the situation of homelessness here on earth.

PHOTOS: URM

On the Web
https://urm.org/
Note: The deadline for the matching challenge gift to help men, women, children, and families on Skid Row overcome homelessness and begin new lives of hope has been extended to June 30. Go to URM’s website to donate.

Kenneth Chancey: Escaping Homelessness

“I share my story for my brothers and sisters who are still on the streets, to let them know that escaping the darkness is possible. I share my story to shine a light of hope which is too often overlooked.”

Kenneth Chancey first experienced homelessness at the age of 11, and was a sophomore in high school when his family moved into Union Rescue Mission.

Kenneth was a recipient of the 2017 Dare to Dream Award, and today he works for the City of Los Angeles as a Legislative Deputy to Councilman Marqueece Harris-Dawson.

Please watch his inspiring speech from the Dare to Dream Gala to learn more about how he was able to overcome adversity thanks to the generous support of donors like YOU, who are making a direct impact in the lives of so many.

As Kenneth states in his moving speech, “Helping people house their families, educate their children, and caring for the sick is not an act of charity, but for too many people it may be a lifeline of support that helps them hold on to their life!

Emergency Donations Needed: Fire at Hope Gardens

As a result of a devastating fire on Tuesday, December 5th, Hope Garden families were forced to evacuate their homes and temporarily relocate to Union Rescue Mission. As a result, our families are in desperate need of the following items. Monetary donations are also accepted (https://urm.org/hope-gardens-emergency/)

  1. Blow up mattress (300)
  2. Twin sheet sets (300)
  3. Pillows (300)
  4. Blankets (300)
  5. Clothing
  6. Socks (kids sizes)
  7. Hygiene
  • Tooth paste
  • Tooth brush
  • Shampoo/conditioner
  • Soap
  • Deodorant
  • Hair brush
  • Q-tips
  • Lotion
  1. Feminine hygiene
  2. Diapers all sizes
  3. Baby wipes
  4. Underwear for women and children all sizes
  5. Milk
  6. Cereal
  7. Protein of all kinds (eggs, peanut butter, beans)
  8. Snacks/juices for kids
  9. Water
  10. Womens and kids sweats (neutral colors)
  11. Towels
  12. Body Wash

25th Annual Christmas Store Toy Drive

Join us to help make Christmas brighter for deserving families! Please donate new, unwrapped toys and gifts for children and teens at Union Rescue Mission.

Suggested Gifts:
*Action figures * Hot Wheels * Lego sets * Board games * Sports jerseys * College Apparel * Dolls * Barbies * Watches * Jewelry * Cameras * Lotion sets * Electronic games * Headphones * Gift Cards

*Teen Gifts are our greatest need

Last day for donations is December 9th

 

For more information, contact:

Phillip L. Anderson

213-673-4845

panderson@urm.org

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13th ANNUAL CHRISTMAS IN JULY

Pre-PRESS RELEASE – For Immediate Release

CONTACT:

Kitty Davis-Walker                                    or                 Alexandra Monsibaez

(213) 673-4585 or (213) 507-5562                      (213)673-4882 or (213)200-1758

VP of Public Relations                                                   PR Coordinator

kwalker@urm.org                                                              amonsibaez@urm.org

13th ANNUAL CHRISTMAS IN JULY

JULY 13th 2016

 

LOS ANGELES CALIFORNIA (July 2016) On Wednesday July 13th 2016, Union Rescue Mission (URM) will host their 13th Annual Christmas in July thanks to their longtime partner SUBWAY® Restaurants!  Christmas in July will feature fun games, prizes, and face painting!  Over 200 kids of all ages from URM and Hope Gardens Family Center will be treated to 20 TONS OF SNOW!

 

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“Christmas in July” is sponsored by SUBWAY® Restaurants who will cater lunch for all of the families, along with cotton candy, snow cones, popcorn, and special guest appearance from Santa Claus in Bermuda shorts because it is July after all! The fun begins at 10:00am so watch out for flying snow balls and lots of fun for hundreds of deserving children experiencing homelessness on Skidrow.

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“I am not sure who has the most fun, our precious kids, their moms who jump in and become like kids again, our Union Rescue Mission staff, SUBWAY, or me? This event leaves smiles on our faces for weeks!”  says Andy Bales, Union Rescue Mission Chief Executive Officer

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Media Photo Opportunities:   

  • Children playing in the Snow 10:00 a.m.
  • Santa Claus arrives at URM    11:15 am
  • SUBWAY Caters Lunch to the Children 12:00 noon

 

About URM

URM is one of the largest missions of its kind in America — bringing help and hope to men, women, and children experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles. URM provides comprehensive emergency and long-term recovery services to our guests to help them escape the dangerous streets of Skid Row and transition from homelessness to independent living.

 

About URM’s Hope Gardens Family Center

Nestled in the foothills of the Angeles national forest, HGFC offers a peaceful setting and transitional living to moms, children, a number of single women and permanent supportive housing to senior women.  In addition to food and shelter, HGFC offers the real help women need to escape homelessness forever, long-term rehabilitation programs, job training, counseling, training and encouragement.

Twitter: @URM

Facebook: www.fb.com/UnionRescueMissionLA

Instagram: @UnionRescueMission

Youtube: www.youtube.com/UnionRescueMission

24th Annual Christmas Store Toy Drive

Join us to help make Christmas brighter for deserving families! Please donate new, unwrapped toys and gifts for children and teens at Union Rescue Mission.

Suggested Gifts:
*Action figures * Hot Wheels * Lego sets * Board games * Sports jerseys * College Apparel * Dolls * Barbies * Watches * Jewelry * Cameras * Lotion sets * Electronic games * Headphones * Gift Cards

*Teen Gifts are our greatest need

Last day for donations is December 10th

For more information, contact:
Victor Ortiz
(213) 316-2779
victoro@urm.org

The Mission — November 2015

IMG_5710_cmykMarisa’s Merry Christmas

How you are giving a precious child and her family the chance to rebuild their lives — and learn the real meaning of Christmas.

When I was younger, I thought Christmas was all about decorations, looking at Christmas lights, and getting presents,” says 12-year-old Marisa. “But it’s really about Jesus. I didn’t know that before I came to Hope Gardens. Now He’s my real dad.” That’s important to Marisa because her birth father was a raging alcoholic who emotionally and physically abused his family. He controlled their movements through intimidation and threats, often keeping them prisoner in their own home. And he’s now in jail for other child-related crimes. Marisa is just one of nearly 80 children who live with their moms at Union Rescue Mission’s Hope Gardens Family Center, a 77-acre sanctuary that offers transitional housing to families experiencing homelessness like Marisa’s. “She’s changed so much since we got here,” says Marisa’s mother, Jessica. “She’s beautiful, talented, and smart. I’m so proud of her.” Marisa came to Hope Gardens, along with her mother and younger brother, in February 2014, after struggling with homelessness for three years after the arrest of her father. Because of the abuse and trauma she experienced growing up, Marisa has trouble remembering much about her childhood. But she is opening up and thriving, thanks to the care she gets at Hope Gardens. “I like Hope Gardens,” she says. “I met my two best friends here.” She’s also very involved in the praise dance group, Bible studies, and other activities. “But the best thing about Hope Gardens,” she says, “is that my mom and I got to know each other better. Before, we were always stuck in bad situations. Now we’re safe and we get to spend more time talking about stuff.” She also enjoyed spending last Christmas at Hope Gardens. “We watched Christmas movies, made wreaths and stockings, and we even built a gingerbread house,” she recalls. “We also worshipped Jesus. And that’s important, because I know I’m a better person than I was before I met Him.” Like any child, Marisa still enjoys the excitement of opening presents on Christmas morning. But thanks to friends like you, Christmas means so much more now. And she can look forward to a real future when all is calm. And all is bright.


URM logo CMYK Stacked 125years tag stacked2b

Celebrating 125 years of Transformed Lives

In 2016, Union Rescue Mission will celebrate 125 years of continuous service to people experiencing homelessness in Los Angeles. URM was founded in 1891, when we took to the streets in gospel wagons to offer food, clothing, and salvation to the less fortunate. Over the years URM has continued and expanded its efforts to feed both the body and the soul, helping individuals and families break the cycle of poverty and achieve self-sufficiency.

But really, for 125 years, the work of Union Rescue Mission has been YOURS — YOU are the Mission. Your faithfulness and generosity has transformed countless lives. Stay tuned over the coming weeks and months in 2016, as we celebrate YOU and God’s faithful care for precious men, women, and children.


Alan video imageGrateful Awareness of Mercy: Watch how God brought Alan to the Mission and how Alan learned that God wants you as you are. Through God’s mercy and love, Alan now knows he is good enough.

urm.org/stories


Time’s Running Out

When you make a gift of any kind to Union Rescue Mission before December 31, not only will you make the New Year brighter for men and women experiencing homelessness, you will receive a charitable tax deduction on your 2015 tax return.

Please Donate Today!

For more information, please call Armi Ramirez at
(213) 673-4825 or send an email to aramirez@urm.org.


IMG_5715_cmykAsleep in Heavenly Peace — At Last

Marisa’s mother, Jessica, experiences Christmas happiness at Hope Gardens Family Center.

Christmas is probably my only good memory from childhood. My mom loved Christmas and went all out every year — decorations, lights, Christmas cookies, the big tree, everything. The problem was the rest of the year. Both my parents were addicts, and my father was also physically, mentally, and emotionally abusive. There was never much love in our home. Then I met my husband when I was 21. At first, I thought he was kind and just wanted me to stay home so he could take care of me. We had two children together — Marisa, who’s 12, and Jesse, who’s 9. We were married for 11 awful years. He drank every day, all day. He was so controlling, we could never leave the house. The kids weren’t allowed to have friends. We lived in constant fear. I tried to escape many times, but I just couldn’t make it on my own. We only got out after my husband went to jail. But we struggled with homelessness for three years before we finally came to Hope Gardens. We’ve been here for a year and a half now, and I can’t believe how blessed we are. It’s so beautiful here. My kids and I are safe, we have our own space with room to breathe, we can relax, and I feel like we’re getting to know each other for the first time without all the fear and trauma hanging over us. And there are so many other great mothers here who each make me stronger. The classes here have also helped me grow into a stronger, healthier, mature woman and mother. They taught me better financial management. We’ve all received Bibles, we’re going to church, and we’re growing in our faith. And now I’m preparing to go back to work. Last Christmas, here at Hope Gardens, was the best ever. In fact, I can say it was the first time in my life I was ever happy. My kids got to relax and be kids. We didn’t have any money, but thanks to Union Rescue Mission’s Christmas Store, I got to give presents to them. We celebrated the birth of Jesus together, because without him we have nothing. And we celebrated our new lives. This Christmas, I really will sleep in heavenly peace.


HOPE-GARDENS-W,XMAS-HAT-(126)_CMYKNotes from Andy

125 Years of Mission

In just a few weeks, Christians will celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, when Jesus brought healing and hope to a world filled with fear, cruelty, darkness, physical and spiritual hunger, and hopelessness.

Beginning in January 2016, we’ll also celebrate another birth of healing and hope — the 125th anniversary of Union Rescue Mission’s birth on Skid Row. That’s 125 years of bringing the hope and transforming power of Jesus to precious human beings struggling to survive on these mean, cruel streets.

In many ways, Skid Row is worse than ever. But there’s still hope, especially inside Union Rescue Mission, where Christ’s Light still shines, where peace dwells, and where lives are transformed for eternity. It’s our mission. But it’s not really our Mission. It’s yours. For 125 years, thousands and thousands of lives have been saved on Skid Row, because thousands and thousands of generous, caring people like you have partnered with Jesus, and with us, to bring His hope and healing into the dark world.

So in 2016, we plan to celebrate — to celebrate 125 years of Jesus’ presence on Skid Row, and to celebrate YOU. Because YOU make it all possible.

andysig

 

 

To read Andy’s blog, please visit revandysblog.com


Union-Rescue-Mission-Christmas-Donation-452_CMYKURM’s 25th Annual Christmas Store

Give Kids Experiencing Homelessness Joy at Christmas

Thanksgiving and Christmas can be difficult for families experiencing homelessness. But for 25 years, Union Rescue Mission’s Christmas Store has brought joy into their lives when they needed it most.

This year, thousands of precious children at Union Rescue Mission, Hope Gardens Family Center, and other agencies serving underprivileged kids throughout the greater Los Angeles area, will receive brand-new gifts because of the 25th annual Christmas Store.

On December 10, more than 700 moms and dads with little or no income will enjoy the dignity of being able to provide their children with gifts they select themselves (for free) and give to their children personally.

All year-round, Union Rescue Mission embraces people experiencing homelessness with the compassion of Christ, and offers healing and hope to help them find their way home. And thanks to the Christmas Store — and generous friends like you — hundreds of families will find that new hope this holiday season.

For information about donating toys to the Christmas Store this year, please contact Victor Ortiz at (213) 316-2779.


20141001_1486_cmykGive Hurting People Something Meaningful — Hope

For most of us, the holiday season is a magical time of excitement and anticipation, gifts, good food, and time spent with loved ones. But for men, women, and children on Skid Row, Christmas is often a painful time without presents, food, a home — or even hope.

At Union Rescue Mission and Hope Gardens Family Center, however, men, women, and children experiencing homelessness will wake up with Christmas joy — and the hope for a new life — thanks to generous people like you.

This holiday season, your generous gift of $25, $35, or more will help provide special holiday meals, clothing, and shelter — and, yes, hope — to hurting individuals and families at Union Rescue Mission and Hope Gardens. Please send the most generous gift you can today. Thank you!

For more information or to put your gift to work even faster, go to urm.org/ChristmasHope


Sign Up for Rev. Andy’s Advent Email Devotionals

The season of Advent leading up to Christmas is a wonderful time for thoughtful reflection and joyful anticipation as we celebrate the birth of our Savior.

This holiday season, please sign up to receive Rev. Andy’s Advent series of daily devotional emails. Each day from now until December 25, you’ll receive scripture and messages focused on the Joy of the Season. To sign up for these special email devotionals, please visit urm.org/AdventDevotionals


Kenneth_cmykBecause of you: Kenneth’s Story

After my parents got divorced when I was in high school, I ended up living with friends, in group homes, and in foster care while my parents battled over custody. When my dad finally got custody, however, we didn’t have adequate housing, so we came to Union Rescue Mission in December 2008. Union Rescue Mission gave us a roof over our heads and gave me the stability I needed.

We left Union Rescue Mission in March 2010. Today, I’m a graduate of Loyola Marymount University and now I’m planning to go to law school. One day
I hope to go into politics and run for office so I can make an everlasting difference in the areas of homelessness, foster care, and elder treatment.
My goal is to one day be mayor of Los Angeles, and eventually governor
of California.

Help Union Rescue Mission Win a $100,000 Grant!

Union Rescue Mission needs your help! We’re competing to win a $100,000 grant from LA2050! Visit their site and vote for Union Rescue Mission today!

At Union Rescue Mission, we believe that jobs are the first step to financial stability for those experiencing homelessness on the streets of Los Angeles. Our Jobs Program helps the men and women we serve do just that – find good, living wage jobs. With this $100,000 grant we can expand our current program and double the number of men and women securing employment (currently at 75) to 150 during 2016.

View the entry and vote for Union Rescue Mission today!

Our friends at GIVE are also competing for a grant! Please also vote for them.
In a context of land and water shortage and of fresh food access issue in underserved areas, Green Institute for village Empowerment (GIVE) program is to install sustainable garden towers, serving communities in need. GIVE will also train job-ready, former Skidrow residents of Union Rescue Missions’ Job Development Program and Little Tokyo residents in the maintenance of the tower gardens and in growing profitable herbs and vegetables.

Urban Farm is not just cultivating food but Community!

The Mission – October 2015

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“ Skid Row is horrible, like a nightmare . . . I completely wasted my life out there.”

“When you’re an addict, living on a sidewalk, Thanksgiving’s just another day to get high,” says Willie, who called the streets home for almost 25 years. “Skid Row is horrible, like a nightmare. Crowds of people smoking crack, shooting heroin, drinking. Rape. Prostitutes. I‘ve seen folks get their heads busted in for $2. I saw one guy crawl into a dumpster and get eaten up by rats. I completely wasted my life out there.” Skid Row is a long way from his middle-class childhood, when his life felt stable, when Thanksgivings were spent with family, good food, warm feelings, and laughter. Before the pain and confusion of his parents’ divorce sent him into an emotional tailspin, and he started hanging with the wrong friends. At 22, Willie discovered crack, and his life spiraled completely out of control. Drugs cost him his savings and his job. Then his home. He ended up in and out of jail too many times to count. When he was free, he ate, and sometimes slept, at the Missions on Skid Row, including Union Rescue Mission. “Crack and alcohol finally sent me to my knees, crying out for help,” he recalls. “I knew if I stayed out there much longer, I was going to die. I had people who cared about me — sisters, my mom, nieces and nephews. I needed help, so I came to Union Rescue Mission on November 11, 2013.”

“ I FEEL SO GOOD ABOUT MYSELF. I’M THANKFUL GOD NEVER GAVE UP ON ME.”

Willie took advantage of everything Union Rescue Mission offers: Bible studies, chapel service, physical fitness, work therapy, counseling with his chaplains, health care — he even got new teeth through the Mission’s dental clinic. But one of the highlights was Thanksgiving, he says. “I was here the past two Thanksgivings,” he recalls. “You can’t believe the number of people who come here to serve folks like me. Those folks really care, and they make a whole lot of people on these streets happy.

In fact, last Thanksgiving I got to help serve, too. “When you start ministering to someone else, all of a sudden, all your problems don’t seem so big. So now, whenever I can help someone else out, I’m going to do it. “God and my chaplains helped me through the whole program,” he continues. “This is the longest I’ve been sober in over 25 years. I’m healthy. I got my family back. I’m engaged to be married. And I feel so good about myself. I’m thankful God never gave up on me.”



Thanksgiving Meals and a Way Home — With Your Help Today

All year-round at Union Rescue Mission, your gifts offer precious men, women, and children experiencing homelessness with safe shelter, nutritious meals, long-term care — and even the help they need to find their way home. Thank you! But right now, due to California’s ongoing drought and a severe drop in food donations, we’re facing a severe crisis this holiday season — our busiest time of year. We desperately need your help! Your gift of $33.74 will provide 14 holiday meals!

It still costs just $2.41 to provide a holiday meal to a hungry man, woman, or child. This season, we expect to serve more than 180,000 meals. Your gift of $33.74 will help feed 14 people, $67.48 will help feed 28 people, or any amount you can send will help. So please give generously. Thank you!

To put your gift to work even faster, go to urm.org/ThxFamily


2015-10-13_09-27-51Special Opportunity to Love Your Neighbor!

On November 14, URM will hand out 3,000 special kits to all neighbors on Skid Row. These kits are filled with shampoo, soap, toothpaste, mouthwash, deodorant, razors, socks, and a special invitation to celebrate Thanksgiving with us at Union Rescue Mission. For just $3, you can provide one of these special kits to one of our Skid Row neighbors — and add a personalized blessing signed by YOU! Please check the special $3 box on your remit form, then sign the Blessing Card with your first name only. It’s a wonderful way to love your neighbor this holiday season!


I grew up in East L.A. I never thought I’d end up on the streets of Skid Row. But I got hooked on alcohol. I lost a good job. I lost my marriage. My drinking got so bad, my own family didn’t want me around. So I ended up homeless here. By October 2013, I was broken down, sick, crying, and defeated by life. Then I came to Union Rescue Mission. Thanks to this place, I opened my life to God. I found what I’d been missing all my life. I found the life God has for me. My family has welcomed me back and I’m even going back to school!


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Notes from Andy

A Day of Gratitude and a Moment of Joy

People are pouring into Skid Row like never before. The sidewalks outside Union Rescue Mission are crowded and I’ve never seen so much desperation. It’s just chaos out there. But every Thanksgiving — thanks to your generous support — we take these precious folks away from their desperation for a day of joy. With music playing on the sidewalks, dancing in the streets, and the smoke of fried turkeys wafting down the streets, we make sure our guests enjoy the most splendid Thanksgiving ever — and maybe a reminder of how loved they really are. And when that happens, some will take the courageous step to leave the streets behind and transform their lives. Celebrating Thanksgiving at Union Rescue Mission gives us the chance to show our gratitude for all God has given to us by giving ourselves to those who have nothing at all. How well you and I pull this off is a true reflection of how grateful we really are. So I invite you to join with us again this year, offering your time and your financial support to display to the world our thankfulness and our love for others.

Blessings,

Andy