Thank You “Googlers”!

Every year during the month of June, Google encourages their fellow “Googlers” (Google employees) to leave their desks for a day and participate in service projects in their communities!  This is a global effort, and service projects include a range of activities from cleaning graffiti to teaching prisoners.

This year, Google Irvine’s corporate office chose to send 16 Googlers to serve with us! These Googlers helped to meal prep and serve lunch to our residents.

I am encouraged to see a major corporation like Google taking an interest in serving and caring for the community, and thankful that they chose to do so through serving at the Rescue Mission!  Our residents were blessed not only by the food that was prepared but also by seeing the opportunity to learn more about Google.

Thank you Google!


Giving online is easy, safe, and quick. Your donation will make an immediate impact to provide meals, shelter and services for a homeless family in desperate need of a hand up to self-sufficiency.

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Ricky & Lisa’s Story: A Marriage Rebuilt

Marriage is a sacred bond, a promise to support and love each other through sickness, health, and everything in between.  But when two people each hit their lowest point of hopelessness, it can feel impossible to keep this promise.

Ricky and Lisa were in this position.  They loved each other dearly, but they were both trapped in their own pain and addiction, leading them both towards destruction.

But the Lord led them to the Orange County Rescue Mission.  And over their time here, they each have begun to thrive and their marriage has begun to flourish.  They are a beautiful picture of the redemptive work of Jesus Christ and His promises kept.

Please read on to see how your support has strengthened a marriage and brought joy to this couple’s life.

Ricky & Lisa’s Story

Not so long ago, Ricky and Lisa were facing the real possibility of losing each other forever.  But today, each smile they share is a silent prayer of thanks. For their health. For their sobriety. For their rock-solid marriage.

Lisa’s shaky health had brought her to the brink of death too many times.

At the age of 11, she was involved in a near-fatal car accident. She received a blood transfusion that saved her life, but because of contamination, she contracted a virus that shut down her pancreas and caused serious dips in her blood sugar. Eventually, drugs became her way to numb the pain and chaos of her life.

Ricky had grown up in a rough neighborhood, where gangs and drugs ruled.  Surrounded by people with drug addictions as a kid, falling into that lifestyle was practically inevitable for Ricky. A life in and out of prison soon followed.

Lisa was the one good thing in his life.

Before coming to the Mission, both Ricky and Lisa were using and living in a friend’s garage.  Lisa’s already fragile health became dangerously unstable. In one week, she was rushed to the emergency room three times. Ricky was faced with a choice: get help, or keep watching Lisa be pulled back from the brink of death.

There was no question what he would do.

To save Lisa’s life, Ricky called Orange County Rescue Mission. After several months of good health care, health education, and access to nutritious food at the Mission, Lisa’s health finally became manageable.

As for Ricky, the hardness he had built around himself fell away when his case managers showed him how to love with God’s love.  While in prison, Ricky had already made the decision to trust Christ. But at the Mission, Ricky blossomed in his faith, and resolved to be a better husband to Lisa.

With counseling and Bible studies, Ricky and Lisa both learned to deal with their troubled pasts.  “We didn’t know how to deal with each other’s hurts,” says Ricky. “We didn’t know how to comfort each other because we were both hurt.”

Today, Ricky and Lisa are both grateful for the support to end their addictions, become healthy, and heal from past trauma.

They’re also learning how to love each other, while gaining an education and job skills for a new life.

In the meantime, they spend as much time together as they can. They even work together in the Mission’s intake department, and as resident assistants.

“This is unlike any other program out there,” says Lisa. “It instills in you that there is hope.”

Your support made all the difference for Ricky and Lisa, whose marriage is now stronger than ever. But their lives could have easily gone down another path. Ricky and Lisa were able to overcome obstacles in their marriage and grow closer to each other, thanks to you.


Giving online is easy, safe, and quick. Your donation will make an immediate impact to provide meals, shelter and services for a homeless family in desperate need of a hand up to self-sufficiency.

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A Life Dedicated to Serving Others: Congratulations Donna, Tustin Woman of the Year Nominee!

Photo Credit: John McGuire, photographer

You may be familiar with Laurel House in Tustin, our program for runaway and at-risk teen girls.  Laurel House has made an incredible impact on the lives of teenage girls for over 20 years, and that is largely due to the love and care of the House Mother, Donna Giddings.  Donna is a vibrant, compassionate and faithful woman that has cared for the girls of Laurel House for years as a live-in House Parent.

She has dedicated her life to serving and caring for the Least, the Last, and the Lost, and it is for this reason that she occurred to me as the perfect candidate for this year’s Tustin Woman of the Year Award.

I would love to share a bit about what makes Donna, and her family, so special and vital to this work:

Donna and her husband Steve are our Laurel House house parents, and have lived in the Laurel House home for 20 years. Their love, patience, compassion, and guidance is a support to the many girls that arrive at their doorstep lost, hurt, and afraid. For many of these girls, they have never had a healthy family environment, or seen a happy marriage. Donna and Steve play an instrumental role as models of a healthy family.  She and Steve have one son, Ryan, who also grew up in the Laurel House. Can you imagine growing up with that many “sisters”? But this family had a call on their lives from God, and knew that this was an opportunity to care for His children. This a duty they do not take lightly, and they carry it out joyfully.

A typical from a normal staff member or volunteer, Donna’s entire life is oriented towards living out her calling by caring for these girls around the clock, every day.  While most employees clock out after their shift, and most volunteers complete their service projects and head home, Donna’s home is her service.  She has opened up her life in a way that many others would not dare to do, and the effects of it are incredible.  Donna’s bright personality, radiant joy, and abundant compassion for others brings light and happiness everywhere she goes. She has made an indescribable impact on the Laurel House program and the Rescue Mission family. Girls’ lives are being changed everyday, thanks in part to Donna’s radical service, her generous heart, and her consistent dedication to seeing at-risk, hurting, and homeless teen girls restored.  Over 100 teen girls are now living renewed and restored lives.

I am so proud to call Donna a member of the Rescue Mission family and so grateful for her heart to serve and care for the broken! Thank you Donna, for all that you do!


Giving online is easy, safe, and quick. Your donation will make an immediate impact to provide meals, shelter and services for a homeless family in desperate need of a hand up to self-sufficiency.

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Down-and-out by the River: Article in WORLD Magazine

I recently had the honor of being interviewed by WORLD Magazine in regards to the homeless crisis in Orange County. Along with myself, two of our residents, Debi and Brian, were able to share their stories of their journey from homeless and broken, to hopeful and  restored.

I invite you to take a look at this incredible article, which gives an honest view of homelessness in Orange County, and shares the truth that there are solutions that work. Here at the Rescue Mission, we see this true transformation everyday in the lives of men and women like Brian and Debi.

Please click here for an honest reflection of homelessness in our community.


Giving online is easy, safe, and quick. Your donation will make an immediate impact to provide meals, shelter and services for a homeless family in desperate need of a hand up to self-sufficiency.

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Celebrating America

As we celebrate our nation’s Independence Day and the freedoms that we enjoy, I remember how our history displays the intermingling of God and the course of our nation. Gone are the days when we can give a blind nod of affirmation to our history, without acknowledging the shortcomings and sadly, atrocities. Our shared history – the glory and the pain – is part of me as an American. And yet, our choices do not mitigate the presence of God throughout our history.

 I choose to say that I am so thankful to be born into American citizenship, with the many privileges that gives me, including the freedom to acknowledge that God’s love, forgiveness, truth and freedom is among us. And because of these American privileges, I have the choice to do better, to try to live out personally what God’s love, forgiveness, truth and freedom looks like, and I can do it in such a way that it that I help my fellow Americans and others throughout the world.

So I share with you a glimpse into our American history, the thoughts and insights that became part of the fabric of our nation.

Click to View:

Courtesy of Hobby Lobby.

Courtesy of Hobby Lobby.

 


Giving online is easy, safe, and quick. Your donation will make an immediate impact to provide meals, shelter and services for a homeless family in desperate need of a hand up to self-sufficiency.

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Brower Group & Clients Collect Over 800 Pounds of Food for Families in Need!

 


Orange County Rescue Mission has had a longstanding relationship with Brower Group, an excellent PR firm in Orange County.  For years they have provided outstanding PR support and have become an important part of our ministry as they help us to spread the word of the life change happening at the Rescue Mission.

Recently, Brower Group went above and beyond their normal duties and organized a food donation drive, along with some of their high-level clients.  This corporate food drive contributed to the Rescue Mission Food Box program and provided over 800 pounds of food!

Orange County Rescue Mission’s Food Box program collects donations of food and assembles boxes to provide meals for homeless and needy families of Orange County. Filling these boxes is an ongoing need, especially as the homeless crisis in our community continues to grow.  I am so grateful for these companies that heard of the need and responded in an incredible way.

Altogether, these corporations came together to provide 82 food boxes which will provide 984 meals to homeless and hurting families!  This is an incredible blessing to the community and we are so grateful for all of the companies involved!  Thank you to the following companies for their generosity and support:

 

Outside the Lines, Inc.
Lifescapes International, Inc.

The Rinks Irvine Inline

Voit Irvine and Anaheim

Passco Companies, LLC

BKM Capital Partners

Avanath Capital Management

And I would like to give a special thanks to Brower Group and my friends Jenn Quader and Judy Brower for organizing this incredible donation drive! I am so grateful for your partnership that enables the Rescue Mission to care for even more homeless families and individuals in Orange County!


Giving online is easy, safe, and quick. Your donation will make an immediate impact to provide meals, shelter and services for a homeless family in desperate need of a hand up to self-sufficiency.

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Thank You TORRID!

Homelessness comes in all shapes and sizes. This means that we have a constant need for clothing in all sizes, for both men and women, and this need is only growing as we continue to expand our programs and facilities.

Our friends at TORRID at the Irvine Spectrum generously met that need with a large donation of women’s plus-size clothing to all the women at the Village of Hope! This incredible gift has been a blessing to the women at the Village. One woman, Gina, shared how she had never felt as beautiful as she did wearing the dress she received from TORRID. Having clothing they could enjoy and be proud of was a major confidence boost to her, as well as to many of the other women.

I am so grateful to TORRID at Irvine Spectrum for their incredible generosity! Because of TORRID’s compassion, homeless women of all sizes are feeling loved and cared for. Thank you TORRID!


Giving online is easy, safe, and quick. Your donation will make an immediate impact to provide meals, shelter and services for a homeless family in desperate need of a hand up to self-sufficiency.

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Jim Palmer on Inside OC: Discussing the Homelessness Crisis in Orange County

Recently I had the opportunity to sit down with Rick Reiff on Inside OC to discuss the growing homelessness crisis in Orange County.  I am grateful to Rick and Inside OC for dedicating time and interest into having this discussion to shed light on this issue.

Take a look at the video below to hear the conversation.

Thank you again to Rick Reiff and Inside OC for this opportunity!


Giving online is easy, safe, and quick. Your donation will make an immediate impact to provide meals, shelter and services for a homeless family in desperate need of a hand up to self-sufficiency.

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Celebrating Fatherhood: A Father’s Day BBQ at the Village of Hope!

Photo Credit: Ben Wilson | St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church

For many of the dads at the Rescue Mission, this is the first time in a long time, or possibly ever, they are a stable, sober, and a healthy example for their children.  They are able to truly celebrate Father’s Day for the gift that it is, and most especially in light of knowing their true Father, the Lord.

The men of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, led by our good friends John Patterson and Pastor Dan Wendell, wanted to make sure Father’s Day did not pass without the celebration these men deserved.  They blessed our dads by hosting a very special event for the Village of Hope dads.  Thirty volunteers, made up mostly of men along with their children and wives, hosted a delicious BBQ and an afternoon of fun.

Photo Credit: Ben Wilson | St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church

The volunteers barbecued tri-tip, burgers, and hot dogs, as well as had a full spread including potato salad, baked beans, and roasted corn on the cob!  Fathers and children from the Village of Hope enjoyed this special lunch while eating alongside the St. Andrew’s men and their families.  It was a beautiful and encouraging time of fellowship for all.  Following lunch, the fathers and families enjoyed an afternoon of fun, complete with a bounce house, a live DJ, and a photo booth!

Each Village of Hope father was also blessed with a gift from St. Andrew’s:  a black metal dog tag engraved with Joshua 1:9: “Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”  This gift is a meaningful reminder to all of the fathers that their Father is continually walking beside them, equipping and strengthening them as husbands, fathers, and men for Christ.

This event was made possible through the planning and support of Julie Wood, St. Andrew’s Minister of Missions, John Patterson, and A Night to Remember Event Company.  I am so grateful to all involved for their organization and planning efforts, and especially to John Patterson for generously funding the event.  Thank you once again to St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church and their volunteers for blessing the Village of Hope families and fathers with a Father’s Day they will never forget! 


Giving online is easy, safe, and quick. Your donation will make an immediate impact to provide meals, shelter and services for a homeless family in desperate need of a hand up to self-sufficiency.

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Justin’s Story: Saved From the Brink of Hopelessness

When it came time to choose a name for our largest facility 10 years ago, it seemed only natural to me and to the Board that we call it the Village of Hope. This was because as we encountered homeless men, women, and children, we found that regardless of the specifics of the circumstances that led them to becoming homeless, they all had one thing in common: a hopelessness that crippled them.

And our mission became clear: to restore hope and transform lives through the love of Jesus Christ. Without hope, there can be no possibility of lasting change, but with hope, incredible and powerful things can happen in an individual’s life.

I have seen this proven true time and again over the years in the lives of the residents at the Village of Hope. One such example is Justin, who had lost all hope and was ready to end his life when God, quite literally, pulled him back from the edge.

Justin’s Story

Justin stood on the edge of a bluff, ready to say goodbye to this life.

He thought to himself, “God, if you really have a plan for me and if you really love me, then please save me. Because I’m going to step off this cliff.”

Justin never felt more despair than he felt at this moment.

For the past three weeks, home had been the streets. He had just gotten robbed of the last of his money. His drinking was way out of control. It had gotten so bad, his body rejected everything. But Justin couldn’t shake the craving for his next fix. For eight years, Justin’s life had veered around this vicious cycle.

Now, Justin inched closer to the edge of the bluff. Closing his eyes, he prepared for the final drop. Justin describes what happened next:

“I took a step, but the wind blew me back. I tried again, and the same thing happened again.  Then it happened again, but the wind was stronger and it blew me on my backside. I said, “God, I don’t believe you. I can’t believe this is happening.”

It was at that moment God spoke into Justin’s heart.

Justin continues: “I felt a hand on my shoulder and a voice say, “I do love you. I do have a plan for you. Just give Me your heart.” At that point, I broke down. The burden, the shame and guilt pulled off me.

With the help of an old mentor, Justin found his way to Orange County Rescue Mission.

“When I was told I was in, I just started crying,” Justin says. But God had more surprises in store for Justin.

He knew that volunteer work was a big part of the Mission’s program. He prayed, “Lord, anything but the kitchen.” So of course, that’s where he ended up.

He started out washing dishes, and soon the staff asked him if he wanted to try the position of supervisor. So he worked his way up from dishwasher to breakfast lead, to dinner lead. Justin not only managed the meal preparation, he also oversaw food safety inspections, resident training and other day-to- day operations.

Justin is thankful that God put him exactly where he needed to be. “I became a leader back there,” he shares, “for people to depend on. I also trained people and helped people with their weaknesses and turn them into strengths. The kitchen is the best place to come if you want to change, to learn about yourself and how to communicate with others.” Justin also gained vocational skills to become more employable.

Today, Justin is employed full-time and plans to graduate from the Rescue Mission program and move out on his own soon.  “God is truly working in and around this place,” Justin says of his time at the Village of Hope.

Thanks to YOUR support, Justin was reminded that there was hope for his life and hope for a future. Thank you for your support and generosity that enables men and women like Justin to find redemption and restoration.


Giving online is easy, safe, and quick. Your donation will make an immediate impact to provide meals, shelter and services for a homeless family in desperate need of a hand up to self-sufficiency.

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