Special thanks to all who have responded to our plea for help as we face tremendous challenges.
As you know, we have taken on the great challenge of opening up Hope Gardens Family Center this past year. Though it has been a tough year to open up a new facility and program, we are thankful that 42 women and their children, representing over 100 individuals, have had their lives positively impacted forever. Since its opening in June last year, 6 families have successfully moved on to permanent supportive housing and, currently, 27 moms, 56 children, and 23 elderly women are living a life of hope at Hope Gardens Family Center. One graduate told me that the smiles have returned to her sons’ faces – making the struggle worth it all!
We have the opportunity now to complete two more buildings, and then we will nearly double the capacity at Hope Gardens Family Center, bringing smiles to the faces of nearly 100 more precious people.
We not only opened up Hope Gardens Family Center, but we also kept Union Rescue Mission home base strong – graduating more men this year from our Christian Life Discipleship Program than we have in recent years. Our women’s program has grown and improved by leaps and bounds, and we graduated our first 14 ladies in caps and gowns in a joy and tear-filled event. We continue to welcome guest men, women, and women with children, feed over 2300 meals per day, and assist folks in transitioning from the streets and prisons to working as productive members of society.
This year we took on the winter shelters when others did not want to take the challenge on. Through, EIMAGO, our own public benefits charity, we were funded by the City/County partnership, Los Angeles Homeless Services Authority, to open up armories in West LA, Culver City, and Burbank, and assist 570 more Los Angeles folks in getting off the streets and out of the winter weather.
I am amazed that all of this has been accomplished in a year where we have been on a financial mountain climb, to say the least. Gas prices, food prices, and the unfortunate fires in neighborhoods across Los Angeles have all had an impact on our donors and our own expenses here at Union Rescue Mission.
Lately, I have faced many sleepless nights, wondering where our next dollar will come from, concerned about keeping our staff employed and paid, and our God-given guests fed. We are so fortunate to have friends who listen to God’s heart and then respond with gifts just in time to keep this work going. I feel blessed to have friends like former URM CEO Warren Currie, who sends me messages to PERSEVERE, and our own Board Chairman David Dow, who reminds me of how bleak things looked last Spring when we were down to our last dollar and faced with even tougher circumstances while we fought for the right to move our moms and children to a life of hope at Hope Gardens Family Center. I am encouraged to persevere and I hope you are too. Please keep us in your prayers! Andy B.