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It’s the Grand Opening of our Thrift Store!

by Steve Lee — October 16, 2014

We are super excited to announce the Grand Opening of the URM Thrift Store and we'd like to invite you to celebrate with us!

Please join us at 280 E. Arrow Hwy, Covina CA on Saturday, November 1st, for the grand opening of the newest thrift store in town! To celebrate our kick off, the grand opening will include Free Refreshments for the first 200 customers (Kettle Korn, Specialty Cookies, and Ice Cold Beverages) and we'll have a store-wide Treasure Hunt where we will mix in free items with the other merchandise on our racks and shelves. Plus, we are giving YOU a 15% discount on all your purchases and each customer will be given a raffle ticket to win an assortment of Great Prizes (iPod Touch, XBOX One, and Gift Cards)!

Make sure you don't miss out this great event!

Store hours 9:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.
The official ribbon cutting will begin at 9:00 am 

About Union Rescue Mission

Union Rescue Mission is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping people experiencing homelessness. Established in 1891, URM is one of the largest rescue missions of its kind in the United States and is the oldest in Los Angeles.  It provides a comprehensive array of emergency and long-term services, including food, shelter, clothing; medical and dental care; Christian recovery programs, transitional housing, legal assistance, education, counseling, and job training to needy men, women, children and families.  For more information, please visit







Updates about the Mission’s Learning Center!

by Steve Lee — October 6, 2014

Recently, the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation (LADF) and Andre Ethier granted $100,000 to the Mission to support the renovation of our Learning Center - soon to be called the “Andre and Maggie Ethier Learning Center”!

After the room was cleared and permits processed, 50 volunteers from various Dodger departments, Dodger RBI players, and Habitat for Humanity of Greater LA joined LADF for a paint day. Since then flooring has been laid, cabinetry installed, signage designed and much more!

With a little over 3 weeks to go, all final inspections and installations are underway (finishing cabinetry, installing ceiling slats, window treatments, dividing wall between classroom and general work space, built in seating and computer workstations).

We hope for a ribbon cutting ceremony after the post season, potentially early November, when Andre and Maggie can join us to introduce this new space!

This remodel will allow the Mission to have a functional, comfortable and inviting space, providing inspiration to hundreds of homeless men and women. And thanks to the significant support of the Dodgers and several vendors this project is truly becoming a dream come true! A sincere thanks to the following partners who are transforming this room even beyond our initial vision:

  • Dodgers Stadium Operations – Steve Ethier and Tom Beacom – project leaders

  • Dodgers IT - Ralph Esquibel – donated 24 complete workstations and technical support

  • Dodgers Productions – a Go-Pro is capturing the entire process to add to the overall video

  • Habitat for Humanity – introduction to our designer and the Habitat Restore

  • Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising – initial design concept

  • Ecovations – Darren Moore -  project designer and contractor

  • Kimberlina Whettam & Associates – permit support

  • O’Bryant Electric Inc - electrical materials and labor

  • MS Rouse Company, Inc - flooring installation

  • Morrow Meadows Corporation - electrical materials and labor

  • Nahib Youssef – Structural Engineers – permit support

  • Design Materials and Encore Commercial Flooring - flooring materials and labor (Nike flooring similar to Dodger clubhouse)

  • Sherwin-Williams – paint and supplies

  • Interior Services | Draperies, Blinds & Shades - window coverings

  • WB Signs – signage, décor

The Mission – September 2014

by Steve Lee — September 18, 2014

Culinary school taught me how to create good food,” says Darren, the 49-year-old lead cook at Union Rescue Mission. “But the one thing they couldn't teach me was how to make soul food. I don’t mean African-American cuisine — I mean food cooked with love. My mom taught me how to do that.”

Over the past year, Darren has helped serve more than 1,300 meals a day to hungry guests on Skid Row, and every meal is served with passion, love, and compassion.

“I love to serve,” he says. “It comes from my upbringing. Our house was always the go-to house for the less-fortunate kids in our neighborhood. Mom taught me that food is a ministry.”

Last year, when Darren found himself out of a job, he found an opening at Union Rescue Mission that combined his two greatest passions — serving food and ministry to hurting people.

“When I first saw what’s happening on Skid Row, I was stoked,” he recalls. “I remember thinking, you mean to tell me I can get paid to cook AND serve these people? You’ve got to be kidding! I love every minute of this.”

Each morning when Darren arrives in the kitchen, he starts with a five-minute cry for the people he’ll serve that day, followed by the theme song from Rocky for inspiration and prayer with his staff.

“I love people on Skid Row,” he says. “I want to serve them the best meal I possibly can. And that’s soul food. Food made with love. And I tell you, every day I see miracles in this place.”

But Darren says the greatest miracle he’s witnessed was serving almost 4,000 meals at URM’s Thanksgiving celebration last year.

“I think I worked 85 hours the week before Thanksgiving, just to get everything ready. We had no idea where we were going to get all the food,” he recalls. “But just like Jesus when He miraculously fed 4,000 people, we found it. I worked 15 hours straight on Thanksgiving, but it only felt like three.”

Darren says his greatest reward is seeing people blessed by the food he serves. “Nothing’s more important to me than the people we serve who've come here to put their lives back together,” he says. “Working here is one of the highlights of my life, to get paid to work on Skid Row and serve soul food to these special people — and serve it with everything I got.”


Union Rescue Mission will serve more than 170,000 meals this holiday season and more than 4,000 guests at our Thanksgiving Celebration alone! It’s never too soon to start getting ready.

Great meals don’t just happen and they require far more than fancy techniques and perfect ingredients. The best meals are created with a heaping measure of love. And that’s Union Rescue Mission’s recipe for success at our annual Thanksgiving Celebration. Above is a brief peek at some of the other essential ingredients that go into this special day.


This Thanksgiving season, the Mission will serve more than 170,000 meals! In the past, thanks to hundreds of volunteers and generous donations from local markets, each meal cost only $2.08. But due to California’s ongoing drought, food donations have dropped and prices have increased, forcing the cost of each meal to rise to $2.41. In order to continue serving so many meals to hungry people on Skid Row this Thanksgiving season, we need your help now!

So please send the most generous gift you can today. Your gift of any size will be a huge help. Thank you!


Notes From Andy

I love Thanksgiving. It’s always been my favorite holiday of the year, especially at Union Rescue Mission. But this year, I’m looking forward to our Thanksgiving celebration with concern, as well as hopeful anticipation.

Thanks to California’s severe drought, food donations to URM have plummeted and food prices are skyrocketing. I’m sure you’ve noticed our cost to serve a meal here has risen from $2.08 to $2.41 per meal — meaning our budget for food this year will rise by more than $264,000!

And it’s likely to increase even more in the months ahead. I’m sure you’re experiencing the pinch of higher food costs, as well. So this could be a tough Thanksgiving season for all
of us. But I want to assure you that our commitment to serve “soul food” to all our guests, and our mission to transform lives, will never waver — not as long as generous, caring people like you stand with us and rise to meet this challenge.

As Chef Darren says, “. . . food is a ministry.” And “soul food” is food served with love. Well, YOUR love is what makes this “soul food” possible. So thank you for everything you do on behalf of hurting people on Skid Row.


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