Christmas Can’t Wait Till December!

Sunny, thank you for that smile upon your face.
Sunny, thank you for that gleam that flows with grace.

Marvin Gaye’s cover of “Sunny” washed over San Julian St while 20 tons of snow began to blanket the Mission’s parking lot with snow. It set the mood – moving Christmas up six months ahead of schedule to July needed a summer anthem to accompany it.

Right outside our gate, you could see a crowd of children waiting eagerly in line – many who have never seen real snow. Aged anywhere from seven to seventeen, each exhibited the same sort of youthful excitement – even the teenagers weren’t too “cool” for this.

christmas in July 1

The volunteers erected a human tunnel as a pathway into this winter wonderland. Each child walked through the portal with anticipation on their faces and enraptured with the thought of entering into Santa’s realm. Goodbye Skid Row, Hello North Pole.


As each foot made its imprint in the snow, as each hand scooped down to mold together a globes of ice, these kids were immediately transformed into experts of the snowball fight. Each of them began to live out the lives of their childhood heroes – Calvin or Hobbes, Buddy from Elf – and a thousand snowballs took flight.


And at every “Christmas in July” event, we have volunteers set up carnival booths for those needing respite from the ice barrage. Basketball hoop, dunk tank, carnival games – there was always something fun to do while waiting to get back in the action!


Unbeknownst to everyone, we had a very special guest accompany SoCal Santa to the festivities this year. Ice Queen Elsa, from the Disney movie ‘Frozen’, made a special appearance to the delight of all the kids – ages 4 through 40. With a quick nod to the DJ, she began to sing “Let It Go” backed with the chorus of little children entirely mesmerized by her motions.


All of this holiday cheer would never be able to happen without the continuous support from Subway – who have sponsored this event eight years in a row. Though we celebrated the arrival of Christmas in the month of July, it was definitely Sunny for all of the children at the Mission.


Christmas… in July!


Last Wednesday, Union Rescue Mission had over 20 tons of snow blanket our San Julian parking lot for our annual Christmas in July event. Children from URM and our Hope Gardens Family Center got to experience a winter wonderland set up by our friends at Subway. Many of our staff channelled their inner child to jump on in. Even our CEO, Andy Bales, got to join in on the fun, walking boot and all!

For many of the children, this would be the first time they would be able to see actual snow. The joy of being able to reach down and carefully palm the icy coldness into a ball and then watch it soar through the air is something you could never really explain in words or in pictures. It is meant to be experienced.

As is the feeling of getting one thrown right at you.

Rounding out the festivities were carnival games—basketball hoops, dunk tank, ball throw, and cotton candy and kettle corn booths operated by our awesome volunteers. Finally, we raffled off some great prizes with “Summer Santa” making an appearance!

We’d like to thank Subway for sponsoring this event and suppling all of the guests with a catered Subway Sandwich lunch!

Christmas in July – Media Alert



SUBWAY RESTAURANTS & SANTA Join Forces with LA Sparks Mascot Sparky
To Create “Christmas In July”

LOS ANGELES CALIF. (July 13, 2009) —– On Wednesday July 15, 2009, over 20 tons of snow will blanket the Downtown Los Angeles Union Rescue Mission. Santa will transform URM (545 South San Pedro Street) into a winter wonderland so that more than 200 homeless youngsters –who range in age from 3 to 17, can enjoy a special early Christmas celebration.

“Christmas In July” is sponsored by SUBWAY restaurants and will feature mountains of snow, colorful elves, Sparky and dozens of gaming booths along with treats like cotton candy, snow cones, popcorn and more.  Each child will receive a toy from Santa Clause and will also be treated to a delicious lunch catered by SUBWAY.

Festivities will get underway at 11:00 a.m., on Wednesday, July 15, 2009 in the San Julian parking lot located just behind the Union Rescue Mission, 545 South San Pedro Street, in Los Angeles. (on San Julian Street between 5th & 6th Streets)

Union Rescue Mission’s CEO, Andy Bales said “I can’t think of a better way to lift the spirits of children who are homeless than giving them an extra Christmas. Santa, snow, toys and lots of snacks and food go a long way in helping children forget, even for a little while that they are living in a shelter and not their own home. Foreclosures have forced so many families into shelters, it just breaks my heart.  I’m thankful to Subway for providing this happy time for our kids”

Schedule of Events:

•    Children playing in the Snow…………………………………………….11:00 a.m.
•    Santa Clause arrives at URM…………………………………………….11:15 a.m.
•    SUBWAY Caters Lunch to the Children…………………………………12:noon

For more information contact: Kitty Davis-Walker @ (213) 673-4585 or (213) 507-5562.

About Union Rescue Mission
Union Rescue Mission is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the poor and homeless. Established in 1891, URM is one of the largest rescue missions of its kind in the United States and is the oldest in Los Angeles.  It provides a comprehensive array of emergency and long-term services, including food, shelter, clothing; medical and dental care; Christian recovery programs, transitional housing, legal assistance, education, counseling and job training to needy men, women, children and families. For more information, please visit our website