Expand Your Holiday Shopping

Have you considered expanding your Holiday Shopping to make a huge impact and an eternal difference in someone’s life?

I had that opportunity just last night!  I finished our radio show, Amazing Stories From Skid Row, on 99.5 FM KKLA.com at 9:30 PM each weeknight.  It was late and I was tired, but my wife asked me to pick up a Thanksgiving Turkey before it was too late.  I’d been delaying shopping awaiting pay day.  As I jumped out of my car a man stumbled up to me, out of the shadows, obviously suffering from alcohol or drug abuse.  At first I waved him off.  Then I felt the familiar tug on my heart, looked back, and asked, “What do you need?”

He answered, “I’m hungry and I need help.  I assured him that I would get him a sandwich, and something to drink.

“Can you buy me a beer?”

“No, I can’t do that.”  I then gave him my card, told him that I am the CEO of Union Rescue Mission, and that we could help him with his recovery, followed by job training, then a job. I asked his name and he told me a bit of his story and that his name is Bobby.

As I walked in for a 20 lb. turkey, I simply added a Lunchable Uploaded, a 2 liter Diet Coke, and a big bag of chips to my shopping cart, and in effect, expanded my Holiday Shopping.  I had the opportunity presented to me to make a bit of a difference in someone’s life, instead of just thinking of my own and my family’s needs.  It may not have been much, it certainly didn’t cost much.  But if Bobby takes that card, decides to come to Union Rescue Mission and enter our 1 year intense recovery program, that little gesture of kindness I made very well might transform a life.

That is what Giving Tuesday is all about;  Expanding your Holiday Shopping opportunities by including those in need in not only your thoughts, but in your shopping list.  Americans spend $52 Billion between Black Friday and Cyber Monday.  Giving Tuesday began to shift the focus a bit to others in our community who very well are left out of this Holiday Giving Tradition, and like Bobby, left out in the cold.

Won’t you consider a gift to a worthy cause that transforms lives such as Union Rescue Mission?  Donate Online at urm.org/givingtuesday.  A gift, even a small portion of your shopping budget, could transform a precious soul like Bobby.  To learn more about Giving Tuesday, read my friend & twitter expert Beth Kanter’s Blog about Giving Tuesday.




Rev. Andy Bales, CEO

The Mission Newsletter – January 2013

I Prayed that God Would Kill Me

I know what homelessness is like. I lived on the streets for 10 years. Heat . . . cold . . . rain . . . it’s hard. But the worst part? Everyone looks at you with disgust, even though they don’t understand. They all had family and friends. I had no one. One time, even my own brother drove past me on the street. He just shook his head and kept driving.

It’s hard to blame them. I was a meth addict. And meth drove me all the way to the streets. Thanks to my addiction, I ended up sleeping in parks, schools, abandoned buildings, and sometimes I’d burn out so bad I’d just collapse on a sidewalk. I lived in constant fear of being robbed, mugged, or murdered.

Winter was the worst, especially when it rained. Some nights it got so cold and damp I thought I’d freeze to death. Some guys did. They’d freeze in the night and never wake up. Nights like that, I had to find some way to start a fire. Or just keep walking. I wanted to die. In fact, I often prayed that God would kill me. But He never did.

In October 2011, I finally got tired of it all and came to Union Rescue Mission. It’s the smartest thing I ever did, because that’s when I started reading the Bible. Through counseling and studying God’s Word, I heard God knocking at my heart and I opened it to Him. And today my life is completely changed.

I’ve learned that God gives everyone a gift. Mine is encouragement. So now I plan on going to college to be a drug counselor. There was a time I prayed to die. Now I pray to live to see how God will use me. I want to save the lives of guys like me.

Winter Weather

Tonight, more than 57,000 people experiencing homelessness will struggle to survive the Los Angeles cold. Without shelter, they suffer from cold-related illnesses, vulnerability to predators and crime, and even death.

Your generous gift provides precious souls with nourishing meals, a warm bed, and life-transforming programs. Thank you for helping them get out of the cold this winter.

It’s a hard world for men and women experiencing homelessness. Last summer, we found a man lying in a pile of garbage across the street — he’d been dead for days.

During the wet, cold, winter months, an average of one man or woman dies on these streets every day.

This winter, we’re offering 120 extra beds every night the temperature drops below 40 degrees or whenever it rains. It may not seem like much, but it means a lot to the man or woman who gets a bed — and it just might save their life. Thank you for caring.


Rev. Andy Bales, CEO


Rev. Andy’s End of Month Update – January 2012

Because of the scope of what friends like you help us do at URM, everyday is a big event. From life transformation programs, to medical centers, to legal aid clinics, to kids programs….we do it all thanks to you.

Please take a moment to view Rev. Andy’s January End of the Month Update and consider a gift today. We can’t do this work without you.