Last Christmas, I bought my 9-year-old daughter, Leona, a real Christmas present for the first time in her life.
It was our first Christmas with a tree, our first Christmas with lights, our first Christmas with joy. It was our first Christmas at Hope Gardens and it was our first Christmas spent with Jesus. Christmas will never be the same.
Your Support Changed My Life—and Christmas Will Never Be the Same.
Christmas never meant much to me before. I spent every day of my childhood terrified of my mother. She whooped me with shoes, spatulas, metal hangers, whatever she could get her hands on. I still have scars on my back from branches she picked from the backyard, and a scar on my stomach from a belt buckle.
There were never any Christmas gifts, trees, or decorations. Christmas was just one more day of fear.
Depressed and Afraid
I was placed in foster care at 8 and spent the next 13 years bouncing from home to home. But everywhere I went, I carried the physical and emotional scars from everything I went through. I tried to kill myself when I was 11, and I can’t count the number of times I tried after that.
I had my first daughter, Leona, when I was 20, and we’ve been homeless for almost nine years, living with different family, friends, and shelters. I had another daughter at 23 and suffered a mental breakdown. Depressed and afraid, I started drinking and had to give my newborn daughter to her father to raise.
Three years ago, I finally got sober, and in the winter of 2018, I came to Union Rescue Mission and Hope Gardens to get the help I needed.
The Gifts of Hope and a Future
All the classes, therapy, mentoring, and guidance I received here changed my life, but nothing was more important than meeting Jesus. I never met a man like Him before. From day one, the closer I grew to Jesus, the more I wanted Him to hold me and to love on me. And He did. He healed my wounded heart in ways I never thought possible.
So we spent last Christmas in the presence of Jesus. My daughter opened Christmas presents for the first time in her life. I got a Christmas present, too. Jesus gave me hope and a future. He gave me a new life.
Jesus was sent from heaven to make it all possible. But I think you’re heaven-sent, too, because Jesus used people like you to give me this new life. Merry Christmas!
Your support helped change Catrina’s life. Help more people, devastated by homelessness, find their way home this holiday season.
GIVE KIDS AT URM AND HOPE GARDENS A CHRISTMAS THEY’LL NEVER FORGET!
Thanksgiving and Christmas can be difficult for families devastated by homelessness. But for 29 years, Union Rescue Mission’s Christmas Store has brought joy into their lives when they needed it most.
This year, thousands of precious children at Union Rescue Mission, Hope Gardens Family Center, and other agencies serving underprivileged kids throughout the greater Los Angeles area will receive brand-new gifts because of the 29th annual Christmas Store.
On December 11, more than 200 moms and dads with little or no income will enjoy the dignity of being able to provide their children with gifts they select themselves (for free) and give to their children personally.
Thanks to the Christmas Store—and generous friends like you—hundreds of families will find that new hope and a way home this holiday season.
Union Rescue Mission is accepting unwrapped toy donations for the Christmas Store through December 6.
For information, please contact Albert Juanico at 213-673-4856 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
I hope to get a beautiful dress for Christmas. I want to be a police officer. I like to eat pizza!
— Paris, age 7
I would like a helicopter with a control. I like the penguins from Happy Feet. I love eating burritos!
— Manuel, age 6
I was asking God, why us? I want to get back on our feet. I’m thankful for Hope Gardens.
— DeJanee, age 16
SIGN UP FOR REV. ANDY’S ADVENT EMAIL DEVOTIONALS
The season of Advent and days leading up to Christmas are a wonderful time for thoughtful reflection and joyful anticipation as we celebrate the birth of our Savior. This holiday season, please sign up to receive Rev. Andy’s Advent series of daily devotional emails. Each day from December 1 – 24, you’ll receive Scripture and messages focused on the joy of the season.
So many people count on your support this holiday season! Will you give your most generous gift today?
Don’t Let Your IRA Benefit Expire
If you are 70 1/2 or older and own an IRA, there is something you should know. Congress enacted a law that lets you do something special with your IRA to reduce taxes, but you must act before December 31 to benefit this year.
Rollover into Tax Savings
The IRA charitable rollover allows you to avoid taxes when you transfer funds from your IRA directly to a charity. You can transfer up to $100,000 this year to a qualified nonprofit. And your gift will count against your required distribution, reducing your income and taxes. Best of all, an IRA rollover gift is an easy way to help further our mission. Contact Union Rescue Mission or your IRA administrator to make a difference this year with your IRA.
For more information about how an IRA rollover can benefit you and the Mission, please contact:
Rosie Perez, email@example.com
URGENT CHRISTMAS COUNTDOWN!
Please Give Hope to Men, Women, and Children This Christmas!
During the busy holiday season, hundreds of people are pouring into Union Rescue Mission for help—and many of them are children. Like the baby Jesus so many years ago, they face Christmas without a home.
But you can help. This Christmas, we anticipate nearly 150 families, including almost 350 children, will spend the holidays at URM and Hope Gardens Family Center. They’ll wake up with Christmas joy—and hope for a way home—thanks to generous people like you who remind them that someone cares.
$1.2 Million Needed by Christmas
To meet critical needs for food, shelter, and life-changing care, $1.2 million is needed by December 25. This holiday season, your generous gift of $25, $35, or more will help provide special holiday meals, clothing, warm beds—and, yes, hope to hurting children and their families here at Union Rescue Mission. Please send the most generous gift you can today. Thank you!
Rush Your Gift to Provide Meals, Shelter, and a Way Home for the Holidays.
No one should have to spend the holidays on the streets. Please give today!
NOTES FROM ANDY
Big Plans—and Christmas Hope
The holidays are coming fast, a season of family, friends, joy, and celebration. But not for men, women, and children devastated by homelessness.
Lonely, hurt, and worn down by life, they face a season that reminds them of everything they’ve lost—and they have little hope for their lives to ever get better.
That’s why we always go overboard this time of year. And this year, we have BIG plans to bring our guests some measure of Christmas joy once more, including special meals, parties, decorations, gifts, and more. And our 29th annual Christmas Store will again give parents the chance to shop for their kids—free of charge!
But the most important thing we can give our guests is not food, shelter, or
parties—it’s hope. And isn’t that what the Christmas story is all about? Jesus came
into the world bringing life-changing love, peace, the promise of a better day ahead, and eternal life.