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Aaron Valencia’s Ford Roadster Giveaway

by Steve Lee — August 21, 2014

Aaron Valencia's story started a lot like a lot of stories we hear at the Mission. His dad slipped out when he was a kid, and at an early age he was a victim of child abuse, and exposed to meth and heroin.

By age 15 he got kicked out of his house - strung out on drugs. The vicious cycle continued till he was about 19, where he decided he was sleeping at a park one last time. He awoke facing a liquor store he had just robbed and was nearby the local police station. If he could make it out of this situation he swore he would to go to rehab.

Once a junkie always a junkie - or that's what he thought. He never met anyone that had actually gone through rehab. But one day, sitting on a bus stop, he made contact with a man who had gotten help from a rehab center in Norwalk. He wrote down the name and headed over - changing how the rest of his life would play out.

Initially, Aaron planned to get clean so he could get back to a healthy weight, but something clicked for him while he was there. He would leave the world of drugs, and eventually homelessness behind.

Through hard work and perseverance, Aaron has now become a custom car builder/humanitarian and founded the “Lost Angels Children’s Project” which focuses on children and youth experiencing homelessness. Earlier this year, he decided he wanted to create a car project to give back to the children struggling on Skid Row. He started researching online and found that Union Rescue Mission's goals and his were one and the same.

"The kids [of alcoholics and drug users] tend to have it the worst... my program is to try and make the time that they are in [URM's] care the best possible."

Aaron is building a 1931 Ford Roadster that will be given away on August 30, 2014 at the 2014 Ventura County Fair/Ventura Nationals Hot Rods & Motorcycle Show. (Please see the attached flyer and photos) He is selling tickets for only $20 each with a goal of raising $50,000 and donating 50% to URM and the other 50% to the Grace Resource Center.
Tickets are being sold at several locations (please see below), and URM's Christine Calderon ( is selling some as well.

It’s preferred that the winner or representative be present during the give away. If winner is not present Aaron will continue to contact the winner by phone, email and social media for the next 3 days to claim the prize!














Exit Through the Thrift Shop

by Steve Lee — August 21, 2014

Many of you have been crucial partners in our work to fight homelessness in Skid Row, and have heard the many stories of Life Transformation that have written within these walls. But most of our guests today need more than a transformed life to escape homelessness — they also need a job.

With the opening of our new Thrift store in Covina, we are trying to help our program participants take the next step. We believe by getting them a job that they can truly exit Skid Row through the Thrift Shop.

How Can You Help?

1. Donate

When you donate your new and gently used goods to Union Rescue Mission Thrift Store, you know it is going to have a positive, long lasting impact. In fact, it is going to transform lives. Your donations, big and small, all add up to hope for men, women and children experiencing homelessness. 

We are now accepting clothing, accessories, furniture, furnishings, household/kitchen items, jewelry, art, and many other new and lightly used items!

To schedule a pick-up, call 626-915-3417
Donation drop-off at URM Thrift Store From 9:00am until 4:00pm (Monday - Saturday)

2. Shop

Every item you purchase from the URM Thrift Store goes directly back into the lives of the people who are struggling with homelessness. From the man who walks into the Mission deciding it is the final time he will quit a life of drugs, to the mother and child who are running away from years of domestic abuse, your purchase will go a long way to see that they are all embraced by the love of Christ.

Early Bird Special
Every Tuesday receive a 25% Discount from 9:00am until 12:00pm.


URM Thrift Store 
280 E. Arrow Hwy
Covina 91722
Phone: 626-915-3417

Hours of Operation:
Monday – Saturday 9:00 to 6:00
Closed Sundays


The Mission – August 2014

by Steve Lee — August 6, 2014

I was a single mom with four young kids, and I desperately needed a job. But I had been a drug addict for more than 10 years. I had been arrested several times for shoplifting. And I had just left prison. I wanted a second chance, but who would hire me?

It was my fault. Since the age of 18, I’d been on my own and I wanted to party, drink, and smoke weed. But I wasn’t irresponsible. I held good jobs. But then someone introduced me to “primos” — weed mixed with crack cocaine. It was love at first cough. Nothing else mattered.

Before long, I was smoking every day, all day. It got so bad, I couldn’t hold on to a job, so I started shoplifting. I hated myself for it, but I just couldn’t stop smoking. By the time I was 30, I had four kids and I knew they deserved better.

So when I went to prison in August 2004 for shoplifting, I turned my life over to God and determined that I would change my life. When I got out in May of 2005, I knew I needed a job to support my kids. But what hope did I have?

That’s when God led me to Union Rescue Mission. URM was more than just a shelter. They taught me how to write a resume, how to interview, and how to dress appropriately. They made me believe in second chances and even helped connect me to potential employers willing to give people like me a new start.

But little did I know it would be Union Rescue Mission who would hire me, and I’ve been here ever since! Today, I work in our Gifts in Kind department, helping the Mission secure everything we need — cleaning supplies, hygiene products, food and kitchen utensils, clothing, baby products, blankets, gym equipment, and so much more. And now I’m also helping find everything we need to stock URM’s new thrift store in Covina, which I know will help even more people like me.

Union Rescue Mission gave me confidence when I didn’t have any left. They gave me a second chance when I didn’t deserve one. They believed in me, supported me, and equipped me to live a brand-new life. And that means everything.

A Thrifty New Venture

by Jeri Little, Vice President, Micro Enterprise

Caring people like you have been transforming the lives of hurting people at Union Rescue Mission for more than 120 years. But most of our guests today need more than a transformed life to escape homelessness — they also need a job.

With that in mind, URM is opening a new thrift store in Covina, which promises to provide jobs for some of our guests, and offer many other benefits, as well. Beyond this new thrift store, however, your gifts enable us to do much more to equip our guests to find employment. Thanks to you, our guests learn how to write resumes, get connected to job training opportunities, learn how to present themselves in interviews, and are even able to connect with valuable mentors and potential employers.

For more information about URM’s new thrift store in Covina, please contact Troy West at 626-915-3417.

The streets of Skid Row are harsh any time of year. But when temperatures rise above 90 degrees, life here becomes even more cruel. Right now, outside our doors, people are already suffering from life-threatening, heat-related illnesses. They desperately need your help.

Yet every summer, donations to Union Rescue Mission drop way off, and right now this lack of funding, coupled with increasing food costs, is threatening our ability to meet the needs of precious souls who need our help this summer.

You can make a huge difference right now. Your gift today will provide not just water, but also cool shelter, nutritious meals, and another day of hope — in Jesus’ name — to these precious people who need your help the most this summer. So please send the most generous gift you can today. Thank you!

Notes from Andy

The Way Home Is Through a Job

Everything we do at Union Rescue Mission is designed to enable people experiencing
homelessness to leave here prepared to live a successful life. And a key part of
that mission involves preparing people for a job. You can transform someone’s life
and find them a place to live, but if they can’t pay for it, they’ll end up right back
on the streets.

That’s one of the reasons we’re opening a new thrift store in Covina, which I hope
is just the first of many we open all over LA County. Other nonprofit organizations
like ours, nationwide, have proven time and again how thrift stores can provide
valuable work skills, jobs, and a sustainable income for people once
considered largely unemployable.

And that’s where you come in. Your financial gifts to URM do far more than provide meals and shelter. Your gifts help transform lives and help prepare men and women experiencing homelessness with job-preparedness training, work skills, and even job opportunities with employers all over Los Angeles.

A life transformed, followed by a job, followed by a home. That’s our strategy. But you’re the one who makes it happen. You are the Mission.


Recent Headlines  

Andy’s End of Month Update – August 2014

by jhuckleby — August 29, 2014

Aaron Valencia’s Ford Roadster Giveaway

by Steve Lee — August 21, 2014

Exit Through the Thrift Shop

by Steve Lee — August 21, 2014

Andy’s End of Month Update – July 2014

by jhuckleby — July 25, 2014