I have been overwhelmed by the generosity and sacrifice of many of our friends and donors who faithfully support Union Rescue Mission.
Let me give you an example: Just before Christmas, we sent out a one-minute video describing the challenge that we face as we have tripled the number of families at URM. In addition, we have experienced a 223% increase in the number of families coming to our Winter Shelters in Burbank, West LA and Culver City. A good friend of the Mission saw the video and called to let me know that he and his family had decided together to skip their vacation in Hawaii in February. Instead, they downsized their vacation to nearby Palm Springs. This isn’t the first time this donor has made a sacrifice like this, but it really touched my heart, that a family would put the needs of others as a high priority over their own plans. It is hard to describe how much this act of kindness has touched my heart.
Then yesterday, we received a check in the ten’s of thousands of dollars from an elderly lady who lives humbly outside of the Los Angeles Area. I will call her Rachel. She has lived her entire life in a way that is focused on blessing others. She is a coupon clipping shopper, invests in CD’s with the highest return possible, wears modest clothing, lives in a humble one bedroom apartment with the intent of giving all that she can to charity to assist others. She lost at least 30% of her wealth in the latest economic downturn. This had to be devastating to a person who gathers wealth solely for the purpose of giving to others. Rachel is also facing a very tough time in her life when she must decide if it’s the right time to enter a care facility. In spite of what she was going through personally, she still took the time to give all that she could to help our guests here at URM who are struggling with homelessness. I marvel at Rachel’s tenacity and purposefulness in giving. I want to be more like her.
Finally I had lunch with a very wealthy man today. He could live in luxury 24 hours-a-day, spoil his children, and himself. Instead he lives modestly, instills the value of work in his children, and resists the temptation to live the high life. Instead, choosing to give his time, talents and treasures away to many worthy charities, including URM, and especially URM’s Hope Gardens Family Center. He can’t imagine moms and children living in cardboard boxes on Skid Row, so he has committed 100’s of thousands of dollars and 5 years of his life to making Hope Gardens Family Center a reality. He is responsible for rescuing many moms and children from the horrors of homelessness. I was honored to be in his presence and to learn from his example.
Living examples of self sacrifice like these precious people cause me to take a closer look at my own life, and maybe order it a bit differently.
Luke 12:34 (TLB)
34 Wherever your treasure is, there your heart and thoughts will also be.