“A few years ago, I was living in the parking lot of a liquor store,” Vincent says. “One day my brother came by. I was drunk. Again. He said, ‘I can’t see you like this anymore, man.’ Then he got in his car and left. When I lost my brother that day, it was . . .
Your Love Saves Lives Like Vincent’s Every Day
. . . one more loss in a lifetime of loss, and I couldn’t take it anymore.”
Vincent grew up in Compton just as drugs and gangs began taking over. He lost his childhood to those gangs. “It was kill or be killed, and if you didn’t join in, you were run over,” he says. “Everything changed.”
That kind of trauma and loss followed him for the next 35 years. The woman he was going to marry abandoned him. A good friend died. His cherished mother died when Vincent was 22, followed by three of his beloved aunties in one week. Unable to cope with so much grief, he started running away from his feelings—and ran to the only escape he knew: drugs and alcohol. As they took over his life, he just kept running harder and the losses mounted—family, friends, jobs, health, his dignity, and self-respect.
“See, I learned early that life is hard. It’s painful, and I had no control over it. I didn’t know how to deal with that,” Vincent says. “So I ran. And for me, that meant drugs and alcohol.”
Finally, Vincent gave up and spent four years homeless next to the liquor store—until that day his brother drove away from him, too.
The next day, Vincent came to Union Rescue Mission. “I was so alone. I finally realized that life wasn’t the problem, I was,” he says. “So I started working with the chaplains to help me figure all this stuff out. I had to learn who God is all over again. I had to let go of all the baggage that kept me in bondage for 56 years. I had to learn that instead of running away from myself, I had to run to God. I may not have any control over life, but God does.”
Today, Vincent is sober and a full-time employee at Union Rescue Mission, working in maintenance. “I know I could make a lot more money elsewhere,” he says, “but I know I’m working for God here. That’s way more important.
“I want to tell donors that they helped me more than they can ever imagine. Because they cared for me, I am pouring that same care into Union Rescue Mission.”
Reach people devastated by homelessness and chained by addictions, like Vincent was. Help meet their immediate needs and provide the tools they need for life-change!
NEIGHBOR HELPING NEIGHBOR, WE GOT THIS!
Life-threatening illness . . . job losses . . . unemployment . . . isolation. The Los Angeles area has been radically changed by COVID-19 and yet another economic crisis. This new normal has profoundly impacted Union Rescue Mission and those we serve, especially those devastated by homelessness.
Yet despite everything, we are filled with joy, hope, and thanks to God—all because of caring people like you who reach out with compassion to your neighbors in need.
Throughout history, people of faith have risen up to bring hope, dignity, and life to suffering people in the midst of crisis. This is your time, and it’s our time. Together, we got this. Thank you for standing with us!
Thanks to you, we are able to provide a safe, clean environment for vulnerable people.
Thanks to you, hungry people are fed and know that someone cares.
Even with social distancing, frightened, hurting men, women, and children know they are not alone—because you care.
Your compassion means people still have somewhere to turn when all else fails.
Offer a personal touch in a world of isolation and fear
When you give to Union Rescue Mission, you make a life-on-life difference. You bring meals and services, hope and healing, to people in desperate need of a new beginning!
MEALS AND MORE IN CHALLENGING TIMES
As the supervising chef at Union Rescue Mission and Hope Gardens, every day I get to see the power of a simple meal in someone’s life.
It’s never easy serving more than a thousand meals a day to men, women, and children devastated by homelessness. But right now, in the midst of a pandemic, it often feels overwhelming.
We’re facing so many more challenges than we ever did before. Food costs more. Because of social distancing, we can’t serve everyone at one time anymore. We have to serve in shifts. Then, when we serve people out in the community on Skid Row, they can no longer come in to eat; we have to take the food to them outside. At the same time, we have few volunteers now, so there’s much more work to do.
Yet, despite the challenges, I love the work I do here—not just because I love cooking, but because the food we serve here makes a difference. We’re not just serving meals; we’re investing in people’s lives.
I wish you could see for yourself the moment when someone’s eyes light up because of a meal YOU made possible. I wish you could experience for yourself the sense of family you make possible here. That’s why I’m personally so grateful for people like you. In challenging times like these, you really are doing something amazing through your support for Union Rescue Mission. Thank you!
Make someone’s eyes light up! Give a meal as the first in a series of steps she or he will take toward complete life transformation. A meal really is life-changing!
ARE YOU READY TO GO OVER THE EDGE?
Did you know that people living without a home went up 13% in Los Angeles from 2019 to 2020? This increase occurred before the COVID-19 pandemic happened.
However, you can help and have fun!
Take the leap, fight homelessness, and enjoy a thrilling once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to rappel down a building in a completely safe environment. The event will take place October 2 and 3 at the Hilton Universal City.
IN A SEASON OF SO MUCH LOSS, YOU CAN HELP 1 NEIGHBOR FIND HOPE
If there’s one word that could describe the “new normal” many Angelenos are experiencing after the past several months, it’s “loss.”
Loss of health, loss of life, loss of family and friends, loss of jobs and income, loss of security and safety, loss of homes, loss of dignity, and so much more.
But neighbor helping neighbor, we can make a difference, one person at a time.
This summer, your help is more important than ever. In addition to the terrifying pandemic and resulting economic fallout, those devastated by homelessness must now cope with the overwhelming heat of summer and all the risks and hardship that brings.
Please give today to provide a hurting man or woman, mother or father, son or daughter, with a meal, safe shelter, and the chance to transform their life and escape these streets forever. You will also help us cover the increasing costs as a result of the pandemic.
Over the past few months of the pandemic, Union Rescue Mission has gone the extra mile to ensure that every precious soul we serve here is protected and kept safe. But that has meant significant commitments at a time of overwhelming, unprecedented need. These additional costs have included:
Hope Gardens will need additional supplies for our remote classrooms: 100 specialized conferencing headphones, digital streaming cameras, and distance learning materials.
Cleaned and repaired air ducts in our downtown campus
Rearranging the entire building to ensure everyone has 50 square feet of social distancing
Significantly increasing our cleaning services
Large purchases of hand sanitizer and other cleaning items
This has truly been the most difficult and challenging spring and summer in Union Rescue Mission’s history.
We’ve seen so much loss in our community and in our nation. Lost jobs, lost income, lost homes, lost hugs, lost moments, and lost lives. Add to that the tragic death of George Floyd and upheaval in the streets. I’ve never seen such desperation and despair. These challenging times have affected everyone—and many are coming to our doors for help.
Yet I refuse to give up hope. So many good, courageous people all over Los Angeles have risen up to meet the need head-on through their support of Union Rescue Mission. Foundations, organizations, restaurants, and people who never helped us before have stepped up to provide medical supplies, food and meals, and financial support. The goodness I’ve seen displayed by so many neighbors, just like you, all over our city can only be described as God’s love in action.
No, I will not give up. We serve a faithful God bigger than our desperation and challenges—a God who uses the compassion and generosity of people like you to bring light and life into our dark world. Thank you for standing with us! Together, I know we’ll get through this.