THIS THANKSGIVING, thank you for caring and sharing to bless others!
“I always loved Thanksgiving . . .”
Every year, Thanksgiving was a day for all of my family to get together and eat the best food you could ever eat. My favorite childhood memory is making sweet potato pie with my grandmama. I never missed a Thanksgiving with family—until Thanksgiving 2018 . . .
I missed Thanksgiving that year because I was in prison. I’ve heard people say, “You can take the boy out of the hood, but you can’t take the hood out of the boy.” I learned the hard way how true that can be.
“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” —Philippians 4:13
I grew up in the projects. It was rough—drugs, violence, killing. Seeing that kind of violence does something to you—and for 10 years, I lived the life I saw around me.
When I was about the age of 30, my mom had enough. To save my life, she sent me to my uncle, who brought me to Union Rescue Mission “to grow up.” It worked. For almost 20 years, I left drugs and violence behind. I even became a minister and preached the gospel.
One day in 2017, however, somebody hurt me really badly. The old hood in me reacted. I made a big mistake and went to prison for 18 months. I only got through it because the Lord planted Philippians 4:13 in my heart: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
When I got out in July 2019, I came straight to Union Rescue Mission to finish what I started here 20 years before. I immediately opened myself up to God, asking for forgiveness and healing—and asking Him to take the hood out of the boy.
This Year, Home for Thanksgiving!
Over the past year, I had the incredible blessing of serving as a cook on behalf of all the suffering men, women, and children here on Skid Row. Every day, Christ continued to strengthen me so “I can do all things.” But the highlight was last Thanksgiving.
It was my responsibility to deep-fry more than 200 turkeys. It took me almost eight hours. I was exhausted, but when I saw the joy in all the faces who came here to celebrate that day, I wept. I didn’t get to spend Thanksgiving with my family, but I spent it with my new URM family.
This Thanksgiving, I will be with my own family again, and I’ll have so much to be grateful for. But one of the things I’ll be most grateful for is people like you, who gave me this chance to finally get the hood out of the boy. Thank you so much!
Show someone devastated by homelessness that the past doesn’t have to define them any longer. Provide the tools essential for life-change!
Your Support Makes Thanksgiving Possible at Union Rescue Mission
“Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.”
In a painful year—especially in a year like 2020—it’s important to stop and remember that we all still have so much to be grateful for. God is still on His throne, and we can see His love and goodness every day.
The men, women, and children at Union Rescue Mission and Hope Gardens have suffered so much this year. Yet they are filled with hope.
Our Thanksgiving celebration might look a bit different this year because of social distancing. Thanks to you, however, we will all bow our heads together to give thanks to our Lord and Savior on Thanksgiving and celebrate with joy. We will enjoy laughter, extraordinary food, friendship, and even the love of family—all because caring people like you make it possible!
A Thanksgiving Celebration—Your Gifts at Work This November
Dozens of team members at URM and Hope Gardens will work together to make Thanksgiving special for our guests . . .
Every precious soul on Skid Row deserves to experience the joy of Thanksgiving. That’s why every year, Union Rescue Mission throws a giant celebration, including . . . 4,000 pounds of turkey, 3,300 pounds of potatoes, 2,000 pounds of stuffing, 800 pounds of mashed potatoes, and 4,100 pieces of pie!
Thanksgiving will look a little different this year due to social distancing, but every single guest will enjoy a full Thanksgiving meal with dessert, a gift bag (including a Bible), a mask kit, and a personal note.
Here’s a brief overview of what happens on this very special day!
Give Thanksgiving Dinner—and Hope—to Our Neighbors on Skid Row
This Thanksgiving will be devastating for so many. Because of this year’s pandemic and economic shutdown, there are more men, women, and children on Skid Row than ever before. Your gift today will help provide a day of celebration, special food, and family love, which gives many the hope and courage they need to find their way home.
Just $2.54 Provides a Thanksgiving Season Meal
• $25.40 shares 10 meals and care
• $50.80 gives 20 meals and transformation
• $101.60 provides 40 meals and hope
• $254 offers 100 meals and a fresh start!
Please send your gift by November 24 to ensure we can serve everyone who needs your help. Thank you!
This Thanksgiving season—as we all work to defeat COVID-19—URM will provide Outreach Kits to our neighbors living on Skid Row. These kits will help protect their health and bless them and will include items like:
• Hand sanitizer • Face mask • Gloves • Tissue packets
• A bottle of water • A Gospel message
You can provide an Outreach Kit to our Skid Row neighbors at an average cost of just $4 per person!
When you send your gift for Thanksgiving meals, check the Outreach Kit box on the reply slip and include an extra $4 with your donation!
NOTES FROM ANDY
A Summer of Trauma, a Season of Thanks
In many ways, 2020 has been one of the most heartbreaking years I can ever remember. Last spring, it hit me like a spear to my soul when the COVID-19 virus took the life of a cherished member of our Union Rescue Mission family.
Then heartbreak recently hit me again. Twelve years ago, I helped a young dad and his family escape homelessness, start a new business, and enjoy the life God prepared for him. This week, I had to lead his memorial service. He, too, died of the coronavirus.
Someone recently asked me, “How do you bear with such loss?” I replied with Philippians 4:13: “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” But then I followed with verse 14, where Paul thanks those who are supporting him: “Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles.” See, Christ really is my strength. But Christ strengthens me through the extraordinary kindness of friends like you.
All through this year of tragic uncertainty—through death, through illness, through the growing tragedy of hunger and homelessness—these things remain certain: Christ’s faithfulness and your loyal, compassionate partnership. Even in the darkness, I see God’s fingerprints all over this year—and those fingerprints are you.