“Sometimes you need to lose everything to see what’s really important.”  These words of wisdom come from Rae Glenn, a former resident and current volunteer here at Orange County Rescue Mission.

When I first met Rae, she had arrived at the Village of Hope after 15 years of bad decisions that led her to life on the streets. She had always thought herself to be an obedient Christian but she became focused on what she didn’t have and the want for more.  She began stealing in the church, creating a web of lies as she tried to cover up her theft.  She became bitter and hopeless and eventually she lost her job and then her apartment.  She slept on peoples’ floors and eventually, the streets.

Rae’s pastor urged her to call Orange County Rescue Mission.  She did and she was accepted to the program, where she immediately felt so thankful.  “I felt like it was a first step to turn to God and away from my vile behavior,” she says.

Her first volunteer job assignment was in the kitchen, washing dishes.  It gave her the time and opportunity she needed just to pray and think.  From there, she began to learn more and more about food services and her interest in the culinary arts grew.  She eventually graduated the program at the Village of Hope and secured employment working as a cook in a major hotel nearby where she gained valuable experience in the culinary field.

Today, Rae is a sous chef for a major corporation! And she was recognized in Orange Coast Magazine for her volunteer work as a chef here at the Rescue Mission, where she continues to cook for our residents regularly.

Most recently, Rae was the lead chef for our Thanksgiving dinner. Rae and her team of Rescue Mission students cooked a five-star meal for hundreds of homeless men, women, and children!

Not only  is her food incredible, but her story is beautiful and inspiring.  In the kitchen where she once washed dishes, she now cooks gourmet food for men and women that are in situations very similar to the one she found herself in just several years ago.  She too once sat in the dining room and enjoyed a warm Thanksgiving meal cooked by a generous and talented volunteer chef – and today she IS that chef! Rae’s accomplishments are due in part to the Rescue Mission supporters, that not only gave her a hand up out of homelessness, but gave her the opportunity to gain the skills and develop a passion to become employed as a chef.

We are so thankful for Rae’s joyful service as she shares her time and talents with us.  She is an inspiration to those following in her footsteps to restoration.  Thank you Rae for helping to make this Thanksgiving truly unforgettable!

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