You changed my life yesterday. Now, I'm changing lives today.
My mom and I came to the United States from Mexico when I was a child. We were both undocumented, but growing up in South Los Angeles, and then Highland Park, life just seemed normal, even though we were somewhat poor.
When I was about 12, however, everything changed. My mom was driving on the I-5 one day when she was hit from behind, resulting in a spinal cord injury that left her paralyzed from the waist down. Just like that, there was no money for food or rent, and because we were undocumented, we had few resources to help us.
After my mom left the hospital, we had no choice but to come to Union Rescue Mission. I took my first step on a path that changed my life forever.
“As a donor, you didn’t know me when I was at the Mission, but I want you to know people like you made a profound difference in my life. I am just one of many people you’ve touched.”
Fortunately, my mom had a plan. Over the next year or two, while URM supported us with food and shelter, my mom earned a certificate in data entry that launched her in a new career and gave us the chance to move out.
As for me, the experience of being homeless could have been traumatizing. Instead, URM made it a very positive time and helped form my character to this day. I made new friends and sang in the choir. They celebrated our birthdays and took us on trips—we even got to go to a Dodger game. Most important, though, when we needed someone’s help and support the most, they were there. They were there for me—and by being there for me, they gave me the chance to discover what I really wanted to do with my life.
When my mom and I first experienced homelessness, I realized that, as undocumented people, there was no one to advocate for us. Outside of URM, we often felt forgotten or brushed aside. So, after leaving Union Rescue Mission, I graduated from high school, became a legal resident of the United States, and went to college, eventually going to law school. Today I’m a lawyer focusing on human and civil rights and a number of social justice issues as well. A lawyer is an advocate, someone who stands up for others when they can’t stand up for themselves. I became a lawyer because I want to make a difference in the lives of oppressed people.
As a donor, you didn’t know me when I was at the Mission, but I want you to know people like you made a profound difference in my life. I am just one of many people you’ve touched. Your gifts to Union Rescue Mission give kids like me the chance to do something with our lives—maybe even change our community forever. Thank you!
Homelessness is a nightmare for children.
You can help answer their prayers—and your gift today doubles in value!
Grieving Those We've Lost, but Celebrating New Life
“I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.” —John 11:25-26
Over the past 15 months, the COVID-19 pandemic has been devastating for the Union Rescue Mission family. At one point, every sleeping area in our building except for one and one-third of another were under quarantine or isolation. Hundreds of our precious guests and staff have fallen ill—and some have died, including our beloved Carlos and Gerald.
Yet we “do not grieve like the rest of mankind, who have no hope” (1 Thessalonians 4:13). When these extraordinary men died, it wasn’t the end. They woke up in glory, breathed new air, and found it celestial. Yet we do grieve.
Even when the insidious disease destroyed their health, their stories of hope and new life touched and encouraged so many of us. At the same time, those same stories are yours, as well. Your faithful support transformed their lives, and today they continue their new life in the presence of God.
Even more, thanks to you, hundreds more men, women, and children at Union Rescue Mission and Hope Gardens have survived this terrible time. Praise God!
The Path to New Life
More precious families like Christian’s (see cover story) are devastated by homelessness than ever before. However, thanks to generous people like you, this fall Union Rescue Mission will open Angeles House in South Los Angeles, supporting up to 86 more families experiencing homelessness on their path to hope and new life. Whether at URM, Hope Gardens, or Angeles House, these are the steps each family takes toward wholeness:
1. Emergency Help & Shelter
When a family comes to URM, their first stop is Emergency (Guest) Services to meet their immediate physical needs of food and shelter.
2. Meeting Basic Needs
After food and shelter, we provide families with clothing, medical and dental care, and make sure their children are enrolled in school.
Mothers and fathers are offered personalized case management, education, training programs, and other long-term resources to rebuild their lives.
We support families through the entire process of obtaining housing. We have two transitional housing locations—Hope Gardens and Angeles House—and are working on expanding.
5. Spiritual Nurturing
Through chapel services, Bible studies, and discipleship programs, we help families at both Hope Gardens and Angeles House establish a new life on the firm foundation of Jesus Christ.
Your gifts and compassionate support make an eternal difference in the lives of mothers, fathers, and children struggling to survive in Los Angeles. Thank you!
Give Today and Your Gift Will DOUBLE to Help 2X More Families!
Christian’s story demonstrates how miracles happen when someone like you invests in the life of a precious family. And right now, generous friends of Union Rescue Mission have offered to match every gift we receive—up to $500,000!
That means any gift you send will be automatically DOUBLED to provide twice as much help for hurting men, women, and children at Union Rescue Mission and Hope Gardens. You’ll help transform their lives today and for eternity.
This extraordinary opportunity is only available for a short time—the deadline is June 30! So rush your gift today to provide twice as much help!
Help rescue hurting neighbors by joining our 4th annual 5K Walk to Fight Homelessness. This year it’s virtual, meaning you can save lives from your neighborhood, your house … anywhere!
NOTES FROM ANDY
Thank You for Supporting Kids Like Christian
When I first came to Union Rescue Mission in April 2005, the Mission was a much different place for families like Christian’s. Other than food and shelter, we offered few other services to help them get back on their feet.
Within a week after I arrived, however, I saw what kids actually experienced here on Skid Row. I was so shaken, I determined that URM would provide kids with far more than safe shelter, and that we would make sure they got the real help they needed 24/7 to ensure they would never have to go through this again.
We expanded URM’s services so kids never had to leave the building except to go to school. We gave them the educational support and afterschool programs they needed to thrive. We helped build their self-esteem and regularly invited celebrities like Tommy Lasorda, Buzz Aldrin, Elon Musk, and Jeremy Renner to inspire them—and, of course, we added Hope Gardens, our life-transforming program for moms and children.
It was people like you, however, who made it all possible. Because you shared our passion for helping families devastated by homelessness, you and others stepped up to share your time, talents, and treasures. Today, you ensure these families get the REAL help they need to stand on their own again. Thank you for all you do!