Updates about the Mission’s Learning Center!

LAD2Recently, the Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation (LADF) and Andre Ethier granted $100,000 to the Mission to support the renovation of our Learning Center – soon to be called the “Andre and Maggie Ethier Learning Center”!

After the room was cleared and permits processed, 50 volunteers from various Dodger departments, Dodger RBI players, and Habitat for Humanity of Greater LA joined LADF for a paint day. Since then flooring has been laid, cabinetry installed, signage designed and much more!

With a little over 3 weeks to go, all final inspections and installations are underway (finishing cabinetry, installing ceiling slats, window treatments, dividing wall between classroom and general work space, built in seating and computer workstations).

We hope for a ribbon cutting ceremony after the post season, potentially early November, when Andre and Maggie can join us to introduce this new space!

This remodel will allow the Mission to have a functional, comfortable and inviting space, providing inspiration to hundreds of homeless men and women. And thanks to the significant support of the Dodgers and several vendors this project is truly becoming a dream come true! A sincere thanks to the following partners who are transforming this room even beyond our initial vision:

  • Dodgers Stadium Operations – Steve Ethier and Tom Beacom – project leaders
  • Dodgers IT – Ralph Esquibel – donated 24 complete workstations and technical support
  • Dodgers Productions – a Go-Pro is capturing the entire process to add to the overall video
  • Habitat for Humanity – introduction to our designer and the Habitat Restore
  • Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising – initial design concept
  • Ecovations – Darren Moore –  project designer and contractor
  • Kimberlina Whettam & Associates – permit support
  • O’Bryant Electric Inc – electrical materials and labor
  • MS Rouse Company, Inc – flooring installation
  • Morrow Meadows Corporation – electrical materials and labor
  • Nahib Youssef – Structural Engineers – permit support
  • Design Materials and Encore Commercial Flooring – flooring materials and labor (Nike flooring similar to Dodger clubhouse)
  • Sherwin-Williams – paint and supplies
  • Interior Services | Draperies, Blinds & Shades – window coverings
  • WB Signs – signage, décor

Washing The Feet Of Skid Row – Thanksgiving Outreach 2013


“Wait till you see my feet… you won’t be smiling no more!” the man chuckled with his lips curling into a smile.

The wrinkles on his face betrayed his young age. The volunteer laughed warmly as she started to remove his discolored, worn-down sneakers — if you could call them shoes. Beyond broken in, the darkly crusted laces puffed out a cloud of dust as she began to untie them.

She pulls off his grey socks — once white — and she carefully places his feet into the washing bin. He flinches, unused to the touch of clean water swell around his toes, but finally begins to relax — restfully placing his interlocked fingers onto his belly.


Armed with gloves, soap, and a lot of love, she gently washes away weeks — maybe even months — of grime and grit. There isn’t any hesitation in her motions as she calmly continues to pour pitchers of water over the crooks and crannies of his feet. Focused, her eyes gleam with grace the stranger in front of her is probably not used to. Grace on Skid Row is always at a premium.


They continue to engage in conversation as she dries his feet off with a fresh towel. This was her first time volunteering at the Mission and he has been around Skid Row for one too many nights. If you had removed the wash bin, you would have thought they’d been friends for ages — the authentic tone in their voices erased the reality of the circumstances.

“Can I pray for you?” she asks.

He shyly mumbles some words I couldn’t overhear, and it was probably for the best — sacred moment are better left untainted. She lifts up some words of prayer and stands to retrieve one of the UCLA podiatrists on call. Equally as friendly as the volunteer, the physician and the supporting medical students begin to ask questions to ascertain the overall health of the man’s feet.


While running through a battery of different tests, the medical students offer the man useful tips on how he can maintain better foot health. With each piece of advice, his furrowed brow lifts with more and more understanding. They offer fresh new socks — a luxury — and direct him to the section where he would be given new shoes.


Many of these unique stations were trickled around our parking lot, as our Thanksgiving Outreach tries to give those living on the dangerous streets of Skid Row a comprehensive list of items necessary to get through another day. To the left of the foot washing station, other volunteers were handing out toiletries — shampoo, toothpaste, and the like, much to the delight of those in line.


For those needing legal counsel, a group from Loyola Marymount University set up a booth to hear the struggles of the homeless with so little hope left in their pockets. The lawyers-turned-listeners each carried a packet of tissues, as tears would frequently roll down the faces of those airing out their troubles. The lawyers repay those tears with hope and many left those tables with a definite change in their countenance. Someone had heard their story, and they were equipped with the knowledge to do something about it.


A Persian group from Palos Verdes was eager to serve Skid Row’s denizens a filling meal of chicken, salad, and fruit. Like clockwork, this group would take the meal ticket provided to each person in line and produced a box filled to the brim with food, sending a few back inside to reload when needed.

Today was not the day people would go hungry.


As the event was coming to a close, I couldn’t help but notice the booth at the center of our parking lot. Sitting behind the table sat two men, twirling pencils in their hands. In front of them were stacks of blank papers accompanied with the sign — Cartoons.

They had spent the whole morning volunteering their time drawing caricatures of anyone who would want one. Young and old would line up, and each would seek me out to take their picture — to capture a screenshot of their joy. Sometimes it isn’t enough to just give people “necessities”, but giving them something as superfluous as a caricature goes a long way.


Something about offering your gifts, whether if it’s legal advice, medical work, cartooning, or even just giving up your Saturday morning, made me contemplate the true meaning of being thankful. And much of that was present — thankfulness was present in the servants and the served.

None of this work would be possible without the good work and donations that people like you cheerfully give to Union Rescue Mission. This day was just one of 365 days that helps make the Mission a light in the darkness.

It’s Time for Fun in the Sun!



Water squirters, hoses, slip-n-slides, community pools. Freedom.

Growing up, summer was the time school books were thrown aside as my neighborhood went out in force to wreck liquid mayhem. Clothes were drenched, lawns unintentionally watered, friendships/alliances were solidified on the Janna St. battlefield. Though memories of the other aspects of my childhood have faded over time, the ones I’ve had of summer are vibrant.

That’s why I was so excited for Union Rescue Mission’s annual Splash Zone event. Other than the fact that it takes place on our roof.



You could tangibly feel the anticipation build up in the kids. Their eyes quickly darted back and forth as our staff was laying down the ground rules for the event. I don’t think anyone was really listening; everyone’s focus was on the huge water slides and the nearing fun to be had. I know I wasn’t hearing a thing.

The kids got more and more excited; each declaring his or her near-future aquatic heroics as they were handed their water squirters. The sun was shining and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. Perfect LA weather.

And then the beautiful pandemonium began.

No one was safe. Dodging the streams of water was futile, and many of the adults jumped right in. For much of the day it felt like it was raining; a downpour of joy.

Children who know far too well the pains of homelessness were soaked completely through; with water, laughter, and a whole lot of love.


We would like to thank Calvary Chapel of Pacific Palisades for sponsoring this event. Even more, they came out to volunteer and spend time interacting and playing with the kids. Without their help we wouldn’t be able to give these children the summer many of us were lucky enough to experience.


Volunteers Needed For Skid Row Registry Week

Downtown Pathway Home – in partnership with the 100k Homes Campaign – is committed to housing 450 men and women experiencing homelessness in the Skid Row community located in Downtown Los Angeles. As a way of addressing chronic homelessness in Skid Row, Downtown Pathway Home is collaborating with social services agencies in the Downtown Los Angeles area and organizing a Registry Week to assess who the most vulnerable individuals are that are accessing the courtyards and dayrooms of Downtown shelters.

During the week of September 12-16, Downtown Pathway Home will conduct its official Registry Week with the help of 100 volunteers. They are currently recruiting dedicated volunteers to help survey our community’s most vulnerable homeless individuals. Union Rescue Mission is the host site for the event, and we would love to see your support in Downtown Pathway Homes Skid Row Registry project.

Here are important dates for the registry:

• Monday – September 12, 6-9pm Volunteer Training

• Tuesday – September 13, 6-9pm Survey

• Wednesday – September 14, 1-4pm Data Entry

• Thursday – September 15, 1-4pm

HOW TO VOLUNTEER: Sign-up at http://lacpc.wufoo.com/forms/downtown-pathway-home-registry-week-sept-1216/

Questions? Look us up on Facebook at Downtown Pathway Home or Email us at DPHquestions@urm.org.

Calvary Church Brings Carnival To URM Kids!

Weekends are sometimes boring when you live on Skid Row, but today is different. Calvary Church – Pacific Palisades brought more than 100 volunteers to host a huge carnival for all the kids at Union Rescue Mission as well as kids activities and work projects at Hope Gardens! 

The carnival was split into two sections, with Jr. High and Sr. High enjoying tug of war, bumper car kids (you have to see the picture!), and other games, while the elementary kids are able to have their faces painted, bounce around in the jumpers, and play games for prizes!

In addition to donating their time, volunteer participants are calling on their friends and family to text the word URM to 85944 to make a $10 donation to further help the Mission.  Check back for more pictures on our website at urm.org during the next week!