More Than A Meal: Offering a Hand-Up to the Homeless Through Outreach

 

Our mission here at Orange County Rescue Mission is to minister the love of Jesus to the Least, Last, and the Lost and one of the very tangible ways we are able to do this is through the Outreach component of our ministry.

Through Outreach we are able to interact with the homeless community in Orange County by serving meals, providing hygiene items, offering housing resources and referrals, advocating for OCRM programs, listening, caring, having conversation, praying for individuals, and offering them a hand-up via the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

It is through our Outreach ministry that we met Todd. 

Todd is a veteran that had been on the streets for many years. Many of these nights were spent on the streets of Tustin, our own backyard. We got to know Todd in late July and began reaching out to him.

Todd struggled with dependency upon alcohol and nicotine and had trouble giving these things up in order to enter the Tustin Veterans Outpost. We continued to meet with Todd again and again and tried whatever we could to encourage him to give these things up for something better.

In the course of our conversations, he detoxed, and began readying himself to change. After a few weeks of interaction, we had Todd in our lobby, ready for intake. There was, however, one last hurdle: nicotine. Todd was hesitant and reluctant to quit smoking and did not believe he had the strength to do it. He ended up asking his ride to take him back to his tent, seeming to give up on everything he had already worked so hard for.

But by the grace of God, ten minutes later we received a phone call from Todd’s ride stating he had changed his mind! He said he would be crazy to turn down such an opportunity and asked the car turn back without so much even returning to his tent to acquire his belongings! Today, Todd is with us at the Tustin Veterans Outpost, sober, smiling, and no longer sleeping on the streets.

Much as we did with Todd, it is our goal through Outreach not only to offer a hand-out through simply a meal or material items, but more importantly offer a hand-up by building a relationship and extending an invitation for real life-change.  Through this ministry, homeless men, women, and children are not only leaving the streets, but stepping into new, transformed and self-sufficient lives.

If you are interested in serving with our Chili Van or Outreach teams, please contact our Volunteer Department at volunteers@rescuemission.org!


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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Fall 2017 Graduation: Stories of Hope

Ten days ago, I was standing in the courtyard just before the Fall Graduation ceremony was about to begin.  I felt a tug on my graduation robes and looked down to see the daughter of one of our graduates.  She asked me, “Are you graduating?”  When I told her I was not one of the graduates, she asked me how long I have been here.

“25 years!” I responded.

Her eyes widened, thinking the nearly three years she and her mother had spent at the Village of Hope had been a long time.  “Maybe next time!”  She encouraged me before skipping off to rejoin her mom.

Her innocence and wit made me laugh, but also caused me to reflect on the past 25 years of ministry and all of the graduations I have attended throughout that time.  One might think that after 25 years of graduations, it all might become a blur.  But that is not the case.

Every graduation, I walk away completely awed by the power of our God to transform and restore lives.  Men, women and children that entered our gates hopeless and desperate now walk across the stage to receive their diploma, joyful and triumphant.

It is always my privilege and my joy to share with you these videos that contain a glimpse into the stories of a few of our graduates, and the work that God has done in their lives.  Many of these faces will be familiar:  Kenny, who used to play his guitar on Skid Row, for example.  Or Leticia, who came to us after bouncing from motel to motel with her son.

Some faces will be new, like single mom Julie, whose daughter was removed from her care due to her heroin addiction.  The two were  reunited at Village of Hope, and Julie is employed full-time and providing for their family.  Or Rajan who recalls, “I couldn’t hold a job, I couldn’t keep a needle out of my arm…my priorities were all messed up.”  After two years living and working out at the Double R Ranch, he too is now gainfully employed and ready for the next step in his journey.  “It all goes to Jesus.  All I had to do was submit and surrender the steering wheel of my life to Him,” he now says.

Please take a look at the Fall Graduation video here to hear the incredible stories of our most recent graduates and rejoice alongside them.  Thank you for your support which makes this second chance possible for the Least, the Last, and the Lost of 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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How a “Tornado” Learned to Be Still

In December 2015, Karen made a commitment to God and to herself that she wouldn’t enter the Village of Hope program unless she was going to finish it.

On October 8, 2017, as she stood as valedictorian in front of her friends, family, and 22 fellow OCRM graduates, she knew she had done more than just finish the program.

Her story was deeply personal, so she began with a discussion of her name.  “The name ‘Karen’ means ‘Pure’,” she explained. “And I was born on All Saints Day.” But, like all of us sinners, Karen did not consider herself pure or worthy of sainthood.

Her struggle with homelessness began with chaos in her home life. Karen was having an affair and in the middle of a divorce from her first husband. Her oldest daughter, a high schooler, kept getting into trouble with the law. Karen had recently watched her dad die in front of her and struggled to process the trauma and grief. She couldn’t think of a way out of her situation – so she turned to alcohol.

She describes herself as living “like a tornado,” taking whatever she needed and leaving wreckage behind. Finally, she reached a night when she had nothing. Sitting in the darkness of Aliso Creek Beach in her car, drinking wine and sobbing, Karen fully intended to drink until she died.

However, as she drank, her desire to kill herself faded. She went to the hospital and told them she had tried to kill herself. Asking for help, not just taking what she needed.

It was something the “tornado” had to learn.

From the hospital, she went to a crisis residential program, where she encountered a resident of the Rescue Mission. Within two weeks, she had also applied to the Rescue Mission’s Village of Hope and been accepted.

Transformation was finally happening, reflected in little signs like the beauty of  hummingbirds and a reoccurring verse. As she completed the two-year transitional housing program, Karen was continually seeing hummingbirds, as if a reminder of her commitment to finishing the program. Meanwhile, Psalm 46:10 appeared over and again on bookmarks given to her, a plaque from an on-site woman’s conference, even in song lyrics on the radio while she headed to the graduation.

“Be still, and know that I am God.”

“Do you think God is telling me something?” Karen joked.

The program has helped her work through her pride, learn to trust, and practice humility. Through Trinity Law Clinic, Karen has been able to file for divorce, bankruptcy, and has had two charges expunged from her record. All free, thanks to the program.

“This was all God,” Karen said. “Just divine intervention. And the greatest gift I could ever ask for is that my family is here tonight.”

Thank you, Karen, for sharing your story. Praise God, who makes all things new for those committed to following His Word!

Please join us in celebrating all 24 of the October graduates. As Karen noted, “it’s a tough program,” and we congratulate them for putting in the work necessary to become self-sufficient!


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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Go With God and Be Ready for Battle!

The In-N-Out Burger Foundation may keep a low profile on its generous charitable giving, but speaker Howard “August” Booker of the In-N-Out Burger Foundation,  was a big hit at our graduation Sunday night!

For more than two decades, our friends at the In-N-Out Burger Foundation have provided support to the Rescue Mission’s programs. This year, this even expanded to include a visit from the In-N-Out food truck every other month!

Howard has been with In-N-Out since 1999 when he started as a freshman in college, working on his Business and Communications Degree. The first lessons he learned while working for In-N-Out were very different than what he was learning in college. His in-store education focused on how to take care of customers and how to treat people, rather than how to upsell and market. After four years in stores and four years in the customer service department, he began working with the foundation, impressed by the company’s history and moral grounding.

As Howard shared his wisdom and experience with our fall graduates, he encouraged them to be constantly ready for battle as they left the Rescue Mission and headed into this new phase of life.  Using Ephesians 6, Howard reminded us all to “prepare yourself for battle daily” by putting on the Armor of God.  The graduates will face trials, temptations, and challenges, but through God’s strength and the skills they learned throughout their time at the Rescue Mission, they can walk confidently forward.


Howard’s speech was inspiring and encouraging not only to the graduates, but to all of the staff, family, friends, and guests in attendance.  Thank you, Howard for presenting this message to our graduates and for sharing your personal story! We are blessed to have you and In-N-Out Burger Foundation as friends of the Rescue Mission.

And a huge congratulations once again to our 23 graduates! To Aja, Daniel, Edgar, Elizabeth, Gary, James, Jennifer, Julie, Karen, Kelly, Kenny, Leticia, Michael, Rajan, Sarah, and all their children: we are so proud of what you’ve accomplished and the changes that you have made for the good of your families.

Go with God and be “Ready For Battle!”

To learn more about the In-N-Out Burger Foundation, click here.


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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From Desperation to Restoration: April & Logan’s Story

At the Rescue Mission, we see families come to us out of broken and painful situations every day.  Often parents arrive with their children, desperate and hopeless, unable to care for their children well as a result of their own traumatic upbringing and bad decisions made throughout their own lives.  One of our goals at the Rescue Mission is to reunify and strengthen families, so parents gain the skills and confidence they need to love, care for and provide stable and healthy lives for their children.

It brings me great joy to see families find healing and restoration through Jesus Christ, and be able to take that with them as they leave the Rescue Mission.  One such story is that of April and Logan, a couple that was desperate to leave their life of brokenness for the well-being of their two young boys.  Please read on as April shares their story.

This is April & Logan’s story.

Being raised in addiction, I didn’t see myself or my life with much value. I didn’t believe my life could be anything different.  When my husband and I hit rock bottom, we hit hard. But it was at that point that we had enough.

Our many years together were filled with the chaos of addiction and prison. We had nothing left but desperation for change.

An overwhelming relief and peace came over us when we were accepted into Village of Hope. It was knowing that we were going to be safe, our sons would finally get the consistency they lacked and we would get the help we needed. We had a real hope that we could change.

It was at Village of Hope that we came to know who God really is, to accept his love and forgiveness. It was a major turning point for me when I began to see myself as a new creation in Christ, and realize that my old self was in the past. And because my husband, my sons and I are created by God, we now know we have value and we are loved.

Through God and all that we have received from Village of Hope, Logan and I have learned to be responsible adults. We learned how to work an eight-hour day and be there for our sons. And, other things like how to communicate, to budget and save, and how to live free from addiction and chaos.

Our marriage and our family are restored. Now Logan and I help each other, we are a team! Instead of being sad because their dad is gone, the boys get to see their dad every day. They know how to pray and have joy in their hearts. We enjoy simple family things and just being together.

We are now graduates of Orange County Rescue Mission and have moved into an apartment on our own, both of us gainfully employed. With each milestone we reach, life gets even better.


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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OCRM Employee Highlight

Each month we like to highlight an employee who exemplifies the mission, philosophy, and values of our organization. This month we are delighted to highlight Alex Hellman as our Employee of the Month.

Alex faithfully serves as our Safety and Security Assistant. He works hard every day to keep our campuses and residents safe.  In addition to his great work in Security, you can often find him teaching the residents about better health, nutrition, and fitness, a passion of his.  It is an honor to serve alongside of you, Alex!

Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Alex Hellman.  I have spent my whole life in Orange County and I have two older sisters that are twins, and one younger brother.  My niece Brooklyn also lives with us.  I attend Village of Grace church in Orange.  I love anything active, from lifting weights to any sort of sport.

How long have you worked at the Rescue Mission? How did you hear about the job opportunity?

I am coming up on my 3rd year working for the Rescue Mission in January.  I was looking for a new job and my dad, who is the Admissions Manager here, told me to apply.  Without really knowing what OCRM was, I applied to work for the Front Desk where I was hired originally as a receptionist.

What do you love most about your job?

I love how closely I get to work with the residents. From working at the Front Desk and now in Security I get to see residents when they move in to the program and watch as they change their lives for the better.

What is the hardest part of your job? 

The hardest part of my job is probably when I see a resident breaking rules and being asked to leave as a result of their actions. It’s hard but seeing one resident be successful makes everything worth it.

How have you grown since you began working for the Rescue Mission?

My relationship with God has grown so much since I started working here. From getting to see the restoration taking place in residents’ lives to having theological discussions with my coworkers, it has truly been such a game changer for my walk with Christ.

What is your favorite verse?  

Proverbs 27:17: “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.”

Join Alex and his coworkers!

Orange County Rescue Mission is a great place to work!  Go to RescueMission.org and click on Employment to learn more about our current job opportunities.


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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Tustin High School Cheer Squad Shows Spirit for the Village of Hope

The Village of Hope recently hosted Tustin High School’s Cheer Squad with their new Principal Dr. Jon Tuin earlier this month as the Tustin High School cheerleaders led a cheerleading clinic for 25 of our kids!

The Varsity squad opened the clinic by wowing the kids with a performance before splitting them into two groups to teach them cheers. The clinic included a 90-minute cheerleading lesson where the kids learned two different cheers.  At the end, they were able to perform the cheers for their parents and show off their new moves!  The THS squad even stayed for dinner at the Village of Hope and were able to spend some time with our residents.

The clinic was an absolute hit and the kids had a wonderful time exploring a new activity!  The Tustin High School cheer squad is an amazing example of young people using their talents to serve the Least, the Last, and the Lost!

Thank you to the Tustin High School cheerleading squad for sharing your skills and your spirit Village of Hope kids!


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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Ongoing Education: A Support System for Graduates

As an individual or family graduates from the Rescue Mission, they are faced with many challenges:  threats to sobriety, balancing personal finances, navigating conflict with their spouse, and even just the intimidation and fear that can accompany leaving the “safety” of a program.

We recently implemented our Ongoing Education program, a program designed to promote transitional readiness and equip a diverse population of adults to pursue their career goals as well as become active participants in the community. The Ongoing Education program was born out of the need for support for our graduates as they transitioned from our program back into independent life.

Through Ongoing Education, monthly classes are offered for our program graduates in the following areas: Maintaining Sobriety, Strong Relationships, Career Advancement and Personal Finance, and Discipleship and Spiritual Growth.  Graduates also have access to legal services at the Trinity Law Clinic, career support through our Success Center, and food boxes in case an emergency need should arise.

Pepper Hale is the Rescue Mission’s Alumni Care Coordinator and she has a very personal investment in the Ongoing Education program:  she herself is Rescue Mission graduate!  Because she knows from experience the challenges facing a new graduate, she easily understands the needs and how to meet them.  “There is a stability that comes from staying connected,”  Pepper says about the importance of community.  It is her goal to bring the community of graduates together as a support system while they navigate life outside of the Rescue Mission.

Word of the Ongoing Education program is spreading quickly and has been met with enthusiasm by our graduates.  Over 35 people attended the first monthly gathering in September and 8 more individuals have signed up for the next gathering in October!  We are glad to see this success even in such a short amount of time and we are eager to see how this program can continue to benefit our graduates!


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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Because of You, Kenny is Singing a New Song

Kenny’s addiction had stolen everything.

A self-proclaimed “Skid Row drunk”, he spent years scraping by, playing music on the streets, and sleeping wherever he could.  That is, until the Huntington Beach Police picked him up and brought him to the Orange County Rescue Mission.

Take a look at the following video to hear how Kenny found the love of Jesus and the hope to start again.


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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Volunteer Spotlight: Kate Rossbacher

I would like to introduce you to another Orange County Rescue Mission superhero: Kate Rossbacher!

Kate dedicates more than 24 hours each week to volunteering in the kitchen at Orange County Rescue Mission, which provides more than 600 meals a day to the homeless!  Kate works so diligently to help us in every capacity, whether it be serving food during dinner or washing dishes for more than 200 residents at the Village of Hope.

Some evenings when we have no other volunteers, you are guaranteed to find Kate alongside the kitchen staff, working hard.  When Kate found out that some of the residents in our program needed help hemming their pants for job interviews, she took initiative and organized a sewing class in addition to her regular kitchen volunteer hours. She has been able to equip our residents with the practical skills they need to look their best when going on interviews.

You can also find Kate at almost every special event, especially graduation. Kate has such a big heart for our community that it is second nature for her to be here, serving at Orange County Rescue Mission.

We are so grateful for your dedication to the Rescue Mission, Kate!


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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