Antonia’s heart is filled with gratitude—and it started with YOU.
Thanksgiving is still a couple of months away, but I want you to know I’m grateful.
I’m grateful for my son, my health, my life, for Hope Gardens, for God’s mercy, and for how far God has brought me as a woman. I was so hurt for so long—but today I have come so far.
You see, my stepfather molested me when I was just 6 years old. He didn’t stop until I was 11. I spent my youth in foster care until I was 18. I never got close to anyone. I wore a smile so no one could see the hatred and rage that burned inside me. Hatred at the man who took my innocence. Hatred at my mom who did not protect me. Hatred at myself, because I believed that, somehow, I was to blame. That I deserved it.
After high school, I ended up homeless, surfing from couch to couch. Then I got pregnant at 20 and gave birth to my son, Jahari. No matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t put my life together. Then someone recommended Union Rescue Mission. I knew it was my only chance. I was tired of being broken.
Two months later, I came to Hope Gardens. I stayed closed off for a long time, afraid to let anyone see how hurt I was. Then I started to listen to other women’s stories. I heard so many stories just like mine. Sometimes worse. The courage of those women gave me the courage I needed to finally open myself up. We cried with one another, prayed with each other, encouraged each other every step of the way.
Through them, I saw the face of God. I felt His love, and for the first time, I realized I matter. I’m worth fighting for, because God was fighting for me. That’s why He brought me to Hope Gardens—because I’m His daughter, and He loves me.
So, yes, thanks to God and everyone at Hope Gardens, I’ve come a long way. I also have one more important thing to be grateful for: YOU. You made it all possible. Through your support, you gave the strength, encouragement, and love I desperately needed. Thank you.
Help someone like Antonia overcome the past. Meet their immediate needs and provide the tools they need for life-change!
Thanksgiving Will Be Different This Year—but We’ll Still Tell Our Guests, “WELCOME HOME!”
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
—1 Thessalonians 5:18
2020 has been a painful year of hardship and challenges, from the pandemic to the economy to the tragic rise in homelessness among men, women, and children throughout Los Angeles.
Here at URM, we know Thanksgiving will be different this year. We are still evaluating if we will be able to gather our guests around tables or if we will have to serve Thanksgiving dinner with take-out boxes. Social distancing and other health precautions will be essential.
Yes, there will be many challenges. One thing, however, will not change: Every Thanksgiving, we go the extra mile to make sure all of our guests and all our neighbors on Skid Row know that here, they are family. Here they can enjoy the warmth and joy of knowing they are loved and cared for. This Thanksgiving will be no different. It might look different—but it will still be home and full of hope.
Meet Some of Our Thanksgiving Team
Dozens of team members at URM and Hope Gardens will work together to make Thanksgiving special for our guests . . .
This year, thousands of men, women, and children will celebrate Thanksgiving with us. It will be a day of delicious turkey, all the trimmings, and family love—a day that will only be possible thanks to caring people like YOU. Thank you!
Bless a Hurting Person With Thanksgiving Dinner and a Side of Love
With your help this Thanksgiving season, Union Rescue Mission will serve more than 80,000 meals to people living on Skid Row, at Union Rescue Mission, and Hope Gardens.
That number may grow because of the tragic increase in the number of our neighbors devastated by homelessness this year.
Our celebration may look different this year, but we will do whatever it takes to make this season one of real gratitude for thousands of men, women, and children who will celebrate with us. But we need your help.
Your gift will help provide holiday meals—just $2.54 each! So please give someone a real reason to give thanks this holiday season. Send the most generous gift you can today.
Finally, after a long, tumultuous, and traumatic summer, fall is in the air. There are still many challenges ahead, and there’s no end in sight. However, I believe as we begin our journey to Thanksgiving that it’s important—right now—to stop and express our gratitude for all the ways we’ve experienced God’s faithfulness.
For me, it’s simple. All summer long, restaurants and organizations all over Los Angeles stepped up to provide meals and cleaning supplies for both our guests and our staff. Their support never stopped. Our staff, despite their own fears, courageously rolled up their sleeves every day to serve men, women, and children devastated by homelessness.
Then, of course, there’s you. I have never felt so much love and support. Thanks to you, not only have we survived the pandemic so far, we’re already moving forward with plans to provide even more shelter and support for those we serve throughout our city. Whenever I was tempted to fall apart under the weight of everything this summer, you reminded me what a community of love and compassion can really do. Thank you!
So this fall, my heart is full of gratitude. I know that we’re all in this together, and together we will continue to serve in the name of Jesus. Thank you for everything you do!