When I was growing up, we never celebrated Thanksgiving. Honestly, there was never much to be thankful for.
Thanksgiving doesn’t mean much when your daddy is a mean, abusive alcoholic. He often disappeared for weeks at a time, leaving us without any money or food. We were so poor, all our clothes were second-hand rags. So at school, all the other kids noticed, and I was bullied mercilessly. Rejected at home, rejected at school, I felt worthless. As I got older, I turned to alcohol myself. Alcohol pretty much controlled my life for the next 40 years.
I hit rock bottom
But after my second marriage ended in 2000 and I lost my kids, that’s when the bottom really dropped out. I quit my job and went on an 8-year vodka run, getting lost in a haze of shanty hotels and hangovers. Every moment of every day, alcohol consumed me. Every thought was, Where am I going to get more alcohol? How am I going to pay for it?
It got so bad, I spent a year living on the streets, panhandling for alcohol. I once went two and a half months straight without eating or drinking anything but vodka.
But on July 23, 2009, I finally took a hard look at myself. I didn’t like what I saw. I poured out my last bottle of vodka and came straight to Union Rescue Mission.
Today I’m God’s miracle
Before long, I accepted the Lord Jesus Christ into my life. Over the next year, through classes, counseling, and help from my chaplain, everything started to change. I thought I was just Herman the worthless drunk. Union Rescue Mission became a new community, even a family, that showed me who I really am: Herman, a loved child of God. I’m God’s miracle.
Today, 10 years later, I’m still living the miracle. I’m married to a beautiful woman, I have a job I love, I have a wonderful home, with two new cars in the driveway, my family is back in my life—and I’m sober.
Please give today to help more families like Herman’s gain stability and escape homelessness.
THANKSGIVING AT URM IS ALL ABOUT THE FOOD AND FAMILY...
Delilah Cannon is the supervising chef at Union Rescue Mission and Hope Gardens, where she helps serve almost 2,000 meals a day to struggling men, women, and children seeking our help. Before coming to URM, Delilah trained at the famous Le Cordon Bleu school.
For me, Thanksgiving has always been about coming together as family. Every year, friends and family come to my mom’s house for the most amazing Thanksgiving meal you could ever imagine.
It’s more than food, though; it’s a day of laughing, celebration, and love. So when I think about our Thanksgiving celebration at Union Rescue Mission, that’s what I want it to be about—family.
It’s not easy. When I used to cater for the Oscars and Grammys, we had 500 cooks to serve 2,000 people. Here, we have four cooks to serve between 2,500 and 4,000 people in one day! It’s the most exciting, chaotic, hyperventilating time of the year—and it means the world to me.
There’s so much that goes into that one day, we actually have to start planning in July. But the real fun starts about a week before Thanksgiving. It takes that long to deep-fry more than 300 turkeys, while we’re also preparing baked pasta, yams, gravy, stuffing, and more. And over the last two days before the dinner, it’s around the clock, no sleep.
But when the big day finally comes, I wish you could see it for yourself. Kids on the roof playing, folks laughing and hugging one another, singing and dancing—thousands of men, women, and children having a good time. Being family. That means the world to them—and you help make it possible.
Your gift helps more families find services to help them get back on their feet. Please give today!
Stories from Skid Row
It’s difficult for anyone living at Skid Row—but especially for a teenaged girl. That’s why we’ve created Girl Talk, a group where teen girls living at URM can take a break from Skid Row and support each other through the struggles they face. Watch Olivia’s story and give greater opportunity to teens experiencing homelessness today.
Please help now. Your gift will help more moms keep their kids safe and off the streets.
GIVE THANKSGIVING DINNER, WITH A SIDE OF LOVE
Between now and Thanksgiving, Union Rescue Mission will serve more than 300,000 meals—and there is no better time to make a BIG difference in the lives of men, women, and children devastated by homelessness.
Thanks to hundreds of volunteers and generous donations from local markets, each Thanksgiving meal we serve costs only $2.54. Your gift today will provide precious souls with the taste of family and love we all crave.
Bless Someone This Thanksgiving Season
Thanksgiving is still more than two months away, but it takes months of planning and preparation to serve Thanksgiving dinner for thousands of men, women, and children on this special day. So please help us get ready!
Your gift will help provide meals and more throughout the fall and Thanksgiving season—just $2.54 each! Thank you!
Give meals for $2.54 to help bless more hurting people this Thanksgiving.
You Can Volunteer to Serve Thanksgiving Dinner!
There’s still time to sign up to volunteer to serve more than 2,500 guests at our Thanksgiving celebration on Saturday, November 23rd! Volunteer slots fill up quickly for the special day, but there are many other opportunities during the upcoming holiday season for individuals or groups to serve.
Take the Leap to Fight Homelessness in Los Angeles!
Interested in a thrilling new way to help fight homelessness in Los Angeles? Union Rescue Mission, in partnership with Over the Edge, is hosting a unique fundraising event on October 4-5, 2019, offering participants a once-in-a-lifetime chance to rappel down a 30-story office building.
When I first met Herman 10 years ago, I met a man devastated from a lifetime of drinking to bad choices. But at Union Rescue Mission, I watched him grow and blossom into the man God created him to be.
I never saw Herman again after he left, not until I unexpectedly ran into him a few months ago, and he told me everything he’s been up to—his work, his beautiful wife and family, and his 10 years of living clean and sober. I was so overwhelmed with joy. He is living the miracle we hope for everyone who comes to Union Rescue Mission.
For me, the keys to a changed life like Herman’s are the power of God and staying connected to a caring, loving community. At Union Rescue Mission, Herman found a community that showed him who he truly is—a child of God. He continues to stay connected to friends and family who keep reminding him of his true self.
Herman is one of God’s many miracles I’ve seen at URM. God used you to make it all possible. Thank you.