“Best Ever” URM Christmas Store

Last Thursday and Friday, URM held it’s 20th annual Christmas Store, which was possibly the “Best Christmas Store Yet”, said Andy Bales.

Parents and kids alike were given the opportunity to come in and shop for each-other.  Our wonderful volunteers took the shoppers through the booths to help them find the perfect gift for their loved ones.

Santa was able to take some time out of his busy schedule and make an appearance.  The kids were absolutely thrilled to get a chance to meet Santa and get a picture with him.

This wonderful event would not have been possible without the help of our wonderful volunteers and all of the individuals, businesses, and churches who have put on toy drives to collect gifts for our guests.  You are deeply appreciated.  Your generosity went a long way and put huge smiles on the faces of many.

As we close in on Christmas Day, we hope that each and everyone of you has a wonderful Christmas remembering the things in life that are truly and deeply important.

A very Merry Christmas to you and yours from URM.

God bless!

For more pictures please Visit the Album Here.

Help Portrait Visits URM – Pictures Worth A Million Words

Many of us take for granted the fact that we can pull out a camera and capture significant moments, experiences, and beauty with loved ones around us.  Many guests and program participants at Union Rescue Mission do not have that luxury, and in their case, a picture really is worth a million words.

This past weekend, Help Portrait, with over 300 locations around the world, blessed individuals with the gift of a picture.  There were five Help Portrait locations in LA.  URM was blessed to be one of them.  Over 40 volunteers photographed over 80 people and distributed the photos to the subjects.  These photos tell stories of redemption, reconciliation, gratitude, and love.

Please take a moment to view the pictures and read the powerful captions written by the subjects.

A big Thank you goes out to Help Portrait LA for partnering with URM for a 2nd year and blessing the men, women, and children of URM who are experiencing homelessness this Christmas season.

Hollywood United Methodist Church – Decorating for Christmas

This past week, Hope Gardens Family Center was blessed by friends from Hollywood United Methodist Church.  The lively group filled Hope Gardens with Christmas cheer as they helped decorate with two trees and all the trimmings.  The children of Hope Gardens were given the opportunity to make ornaments and share Christmas goodies while listening to live music.  It was a fun filled day and a blessing to Hope Gardens.  Thanks Hollywood United Methodist Church!

Volunteers Needed for Christmas Store

We are busy preparing for our 20th Annual Chistmas Store, and we need your help! There are opportunities to volunteer at this years Christmas Store on December 15th and 16th – from Gift Wrappers to Personal Shoppers to Kids Store Crafts, there is something for everyone.

Christmas Store allows families in need to shop for their children for free – we have a Main Store for parents to shop for their kids, while kids get to spend time in the Kids Store shopping for mom and dad, taking a picture with Santa, making crafts and more!

If you are interested in volunteering, please click the link(s) below that corresponds with the time(s) you are available. You will need to enter all your individual information in order to be registered; if you are coming as part of a group, please make sure each individual registers through these links. If you have any questions, please email volunteer@urm.org

Thursday, December 15th from 8am-12:30pm —urm.org/christmasstorethursday8am

Thursday, December 15th from 12pm-5pm — urm.org/christmasstorethursday12pm

Friday, December 16th from 8am-12:30pm — urm.org/christmasstorefriday8am

Friday, December 16th from 12pm-6pm — urm.org/christmasstorefriday12pm

5-Star Dining Comes to Skid Row

A fantastic dinner fit to be served at any top restaurant was served on Skid Row last night!  2010 James Beard Award award-winning chef, Alexander Roberts, and Chris Gardner (whose story is told in Pursuit of Happyness) presented a delicious gourmet 4-course meal of Creole chicken, beans and rice, cornbread, salad with homemade buttermilk dressing, and a fresh peach and blueberry crisp.

With the help of fellow chefs and URM staff,  Alexander prepared over 700 meals for the precious men, women, and children living at Union Rescue Mission.

AARP’s Ambassador, Chris Gardner led 100+ AARP volunteers in serving the dinner to our guests.  Every plate served was scraped clean.  The only leftovers to be found were full bellies and big smiles!

This event, which is in conjunction with AARP’s annual national event, Life@50+, is shedding light on the sobering fact that there are nearly nine million people, 50 and older, at risk of hunger in this country.

Thanks to AARP volunteers, Chris Gardner, Alexander Roberts, and so many others, for serving our guests, many over 50, a wonderful dinner with generous sides of love and compassion.

For more pictures please visit our facebook album here.

250 UCLA Students Volunteer at URM

It was a sea of blue and yellow yesterday as volunteers from UCLA came to URM to serve all over the building! As part of the “Volunteer Day” for incoming students, over 7,000 freshman and new transfer students take part in various volunteer projects all over the LA area.

We were blessed with 250 of these hard-working students who were divided up into groups to tackle all areas of our building. They scrubbed our walls and stairwells, washed our windows, and played with children on the roof. Some helped out in the kitchen, preparing the meal and serving our guests.

The volunteers did a phenomenal job, and really helped us out. Staff and guests have been letting us know how grateful they are for the help, and how much better the building looks!

Thank you, UCLA volunteers! We are always glad to have you come down, and are already looking forward to next year!

Kids Learn to Surf with Malibu Gathering Church

A few weeks ago, members of Malibu Gathering Church invited URM kids to Malibu to learn to surf! They supplied wetsuits, boards, and lunch. It was a beautiful day and the kids had a blast.

Thanks so much to everyone at Malibu Gathering Church who made this opportunity and fun day possibly! You can view some great photos  from the day on our Facebook page.

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.

Kids Learn Fun Ways to Stay Fit

This summer, the kids at URM are learning lots of fun ways to stay active thanks to one of our great volunteers. Ana Dewar has been coming down three times a week to hold fun activities for the kids as part of her project to receive the Going for the Gold Award from Girl Scouts.

Ana has been dedicated in creating fun activities for all ages that  focus on health and fitness for youth.

Today, the kids went to the roof for hula hooping! Everyone had a great time, especially 5-year old Bernadette (above) who was very enthusiasitc about learning to hula hoop!

Thanks to Ana for bringing fun and fitness to the kids this summer!