No Ordinary Rescue Mission, No Ordinary Employee

Last Thursday, the chapel foyer here at the Village of Hope was packed to the brim with friends, family and staff members, all gathered together for one reason:  to celebrate and honor the commitment and service of two very special people.  Two Orange County Rescue Mission employees, and dear friends of mine, Derrick Burton and Pamela Todd-Coles have reached the incredible milestone of 10 years of service here at the Rescue Mission! 

This is no small accomplishment, and we had to make sure they were each honored, celebrated and thanked for their service to the Rescue Mission over the past decade.  Both of these special people have made an incredible impact on the Rescue Mission in their own way – Pam as a gifted Grant Writer and Derrick as our wise Program Director.

Over the past 10 years I have been blessed to serve alongside them and witness firsthand the way they have impacted the Rescue Mission.  Their service, commitment, and care has made the Mission what it is today.  You can tell that these people are so loved and respected; you could see it in the many smiling faces that had all willingly and eagerly come to spend a night honoring these special people, you could hear it in the heartfelt words shared about both of them. In recognition of these wonderful individuals, I would like to share a little bit about both of them and their journeys with you.


“If someone ever came to me, and they were doubting that the Lord prepares for us good works in advance or that He truly does call specific people into specific ministries at specific times, I would ask them if they would like to come meet my friend, Derrick.”

This comment shared by our  COO and Derrick’s supervisor, Bryan, perfectly sums up Derrick’s experience here at the Rescue Mission.  He is perfectly suited for the role that God has placed him in here at the Rescue Mission. And because of that, the Rescue Mission has thrived under his care and leadership.  His heart for God and for people is so evident in every one of his actions and words.  He treats everyone that comes through our gates as a child of God, with dignity, self-worth and compassion that communicates the love of Christ.  When he came to the Rescue Mission, the only position available was a custodian position.  Despite previously being a Director of another ministry, Derrick accepted the custodian position humbly and gratefully, knowing that God had called him to be here.  And over the years, this has proved true as God continues to use Derrick in the lives of both the residents and the staff here at the Rescue Mission.  Thank you for 10 years of faithful service, Derrick!


“I am not an envious person by nature,” shares Anna, our Director of Development. “I don’t envy people’s houses or cars or things, but one thing I do envy, one thing I admire about you, Pam, is how intimate your relationship with God is and how deeply you love Him.”

Wow! Every Christian should strive to have this spoken of them, and it is truly an accurate representation of Pam’s loving and gracious spirit.  She came to us 10 years ago, after many years of a successful career, including years spent as an Executive Director. But she too felt the Lord calling her to the Rescue Mission, and knew it was where she was meant to be.  Since she joined us, she has been an instrumental part of our Grants team and is responsible for helping to keep the Rescue Mission open and running each day.  At the celebration, her team all contributed to Anna’s speech by sharing their favorite “Pam memories”, a testament to how well-loved she is here. Perhaps the best example of her heart: any given day, you can walk in her office and see a list of names on her whiteboard, reminding her throughout the day to lift these people up in prayer.

I could go on and on about these two amazing individuals.  The Rescue Mission truly would not be what it is today without their incredible influence, leadership, and service.  I will conclude with a comment I made during my speech at the celebration: We are no ordinary Mission, because Pam is no ordinary Grant Writer and Derrick is no ordinary Program Director.  The love of Jesus Christ is not ordinary.  Each day I am in awe of what the Lord does here, in the hearts of people as lives are transformed, and through the staff that give of their lives each day.

I am so thankful for both Pam and Derrick and proud to have them as part of the Rescue Mission family.  Congratulations on 10 years of faithful service!  Here’s to many more!

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.


Kory & Alana’s Story:

Several years ago, Kory and Alana walked through our gates, along with their daughter, Kayden.  Though they came from a place of such brokenness and pain, it brings me great joy to share their story with you now, in light of how their lives have drastically changed.

Today, Kory and Alana are still great friends of the Rescue Mission.  They continue to visit and stay in touch, and you can often find Kayden playing in the courtyard with her friends that still live here.  Seeing this family come back is a beautiful reminder of the restoration and joy that is possible through Christ.  I pray that Kory and Alana’s story encourages you today.

This is Kory and Alana’s story.

A few years ago, Kory found himself alone on Christmas, in a jail cell.  Only a stinking mattress and a sickly glow coming from the overhead light filled the cell.  All Kory could think of was his family, and how we would be missing Christmas with them.  Just as he had missed his daughter’s birthday.  Just as he had missed so many other moments.

Alone in his gloomy cell, Kory hit rock bottom.

“I went to jail because of homelessness and drug use,” Kory remembers.  “I lost everything that day.  That Christmas was one of the most depressing times of my life.  All I wanted was to be with my family.”

Then God gently nudged Kory’s thoughts in a different direction.  The deep longings in Kory’s heart began to surface. …I want to provide a stable home for my daughter.  Make sure she’s in school.  I want her to always have enough…to not be hungry….

“Homelessness was a bad feeling, especially when my daughter felt hungry,” Kory recalls.

With a renewed purpose in his heart, Kory brought his wife, Alana, and their daughter, Kayden, to the Village of Hope, where they were given their own room and a taste of their first good, hot meal in a long time.

As life settled around them, Kory and his family began a new routine – one that focused on giving them the tools to heal, restore, and become self-sufficient.  With the help of a counselor, Kory worked on confronting his drug problem and making better choices to be the husband and father his family needed.

Living on the streets was a daily fight to survive, not a time to cultivate family relationships.  Both Kory and Alana needed help to renew their commitment to each other and their daughter.  At this Mission, Kory quickly made up for lost time with his family.

“My daughter is so happy to spend time with us.  Being with her…it is awesome,” Kory beams.

Getting to a good place emotionally is not the only help Kory and his family got at the mission.  Kory and Alana went through our Road to Success workshop and both found full-time employment shortly after.  They have now graduated from the Mission and were able to move into their own home with the money they had saved while at the Village of Hope!

Because of you, hurting people like Kory and Alana have somewhere to turn when they are at their most desperate.  Thank you for your generosity!

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.


Thank You Cox Charities!

I am so thankful for the generosity of our corporate supporters.  It is always exciting to me to see corporations use their resources and influence to make a positive impact on the community!

Today I would especially like to thank Cox Charities, a major supporter of local veterans organizations and of the Tustin Veterans Outpost. For the past several years, Cox employees have donated to the 26-bed Tustin Veterans Outpost. In late 2017, they continued that commitment with a $10,000 grant! The best part? The grant was originally $5,000 and Cox Charities members voted to DOUBLE the grant for the Tustin Veterans Outpost.

Thank you, Casey, Lacey, and all of Cox’s incredible employees! Your gift will help many homeless veterans and their families during 2018 and beyond.

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.


OCRM Welcomes 2018!

A new year means new beginnings!  Because of your generosity and support and God’s continued faithfulness, 2017 has been an absolutely incredible year here at the Orange County Rescue Mission.  As we closed the chapter that is 2017, we looked back thankfully for all that God has provided over the past year.  And now, we look forward eagerly at what 2018 will bring!

And new beginnings warrant a celebration!  Every year, we host a  New Year’s Eve celebration especially for the adults of the Rescue Mission.  This special time is a time to express gratitude for the past year and welcome the new year with excitement!  For many, this will be a transformative year as they maintain sobriety, find stability, reunify families, and gain employment, for perhaps the first time in many years.  What a joyful thing to celebrate!

So we welcome 2018 and all the blessings it will bring!

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.


The Most Magical Time of the Year: Magic at the Mission!

Every year, the Village of Hope becomes a winter wonderland for one magical day!   Our Magic at the Mission event is  a day when the Orange County community comes together to create a day of Christmas magic, highlighting the glory of Jesus Christ.  It is a special day unlike any other! I look forward to it every year, knowing the joy and excitement it will bring.

I am so thankful for the partnership of the incredible individuals, groups, and companies that make this amazing event possible.

Linda Rose and Mark Parkinson are the volunteer Event Chairs that inspired Magic at the Mission nine years ago. It is because of  their leadership, creativity and hard work that we have this special event each year. I appreciate you Linda Rose and Mark!

OC Auto Center and its President John Patterson for organizing a community toy drive. And thank you to Tustin Buick GMC for hosting and organizing the “caravan of toys” from OC Auto Center to Village of Hope. It is a sight to see the long line of cars and motorcycles, piled with toys for homeless children. Heading up the caravan are none other than Santa and Mrs. Claus, played by our very own Laurel House house parent team, Donna and Steve Giddings, on their “sleigh”.

The main attraction is always the snow! The Village of Hope was transformed into a Christmas wonderland complete with snow hills for sledding!

Another one of my favorite parts of this event is the Mission Bible Church worship team, who use their incredible talents to bless us with live music.  In addition to the fun of gift “shopping” for donated gifts and the snow hills, a photo booth was provided by Heart of God OC and The Feeding Frenzy Food Truck offered funnel cakes to add to the fun. And of course, Subway provided a delicious lunch for everyone!

I would like to say a huge thank you to the volunteers that arrived bright and early to put on this special event for the Rescue Mission children and families. Special thanks are in order for University of Dayton Alumni Community of Orange County, Canvas Church, La Puerta Abierta Church, Hana Church, and National Charity League Rancho Irvine!

It is amazing to see not only the blessing that this event is to our residents, but also to the volunteers. Volunteers are able to witness a joy unlike any other that crosses a child’s face as they play in snow, for perhaps the first time, on a sunny day in Southern California. And there is so much excitement as kids pick gifts for their parents, and learn the blessing of giving rather than receiving. The volunteers are reminded of how powerful and transforming it is for parents to be able to choose gifts for their children at Christmas time, parents that are on their journey back to being the providers for their families.

And we could not have a toy and gift shop without all of the donations. To all of you who donated one or more toys or gifts, THANK YOU! You have given families in need a special Christmas to remember.

Another magical Christmas season has come to the Rescue Mission and it once again has been a beautiful reminder of the joy, grace, and blessings God has given us through Jesus Christ!  Thank you to all who were a part of making this magical day!

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.


OCRM is A “Top Workplace in Orange County” for 2 Years in a Row!

For the second year in a row, Orange County Rescue Mission has earned a spot on the “Top Workplaces in Orange County” list in the Orange County Business Journal!  Some of the criteria for the top ranked workplaces are a workplace that operates by strong values and ethics, a job that gives employees the opportunity to be part of something meaningful and a workplace that makes its employees feel appreciated and their concerns heard.  I am proud to say that Orange County Rescue Mission strives not only to meet this criteria, but to exceed in these areas and others.

And the Rescue Mission is truly a wonderful place to work because of the incredible team we have that care so deeply about the work we do every day!  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 Tara Booher as our Employee of the Month.

Tara faithfully serves as Respite House Parent at Laurel House, our home for runaway and at-risk teen girls. Because of Tara’s selfless service, our full-time House Parents, Donna and Steve, are able to get some much-needed rest and refreshment.  On top of this, Tara works full-time for the Boys and Girls Club as a Director.  Her heart and love for youth make her an incredible and irreplaceable part of the Rescue Mission family! It is an honor to serve alongside of you, Tara!

Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Tara Booher.  I was born in Tustin but moved when I was 7.  I grew up in a very small town outside of Greensboro, North Carolina, called Climax.  My hobbies are traveling and watching college football and basketball.  I attend Eastside Christian Church in Anaheim.

How long have you worked at the Rescue Mission/Laurel House?

I have worked with Laurel House for 12 years now!

What do you love most about your job?

What I love most about my job is being able to work in a place that allows me to openly express my faith through prayer, worship and Bible study.  I also love being a mentor to the girls in the home and watching them grow in their faith.

What is the hardest part of your job? 

The hardest part of my job is having to say goodbye to the girls when they move on.  We try to stay in contact, but not having them around all the time is sad at first.

How have you grown since you began working at Laurel House?

Since working at Laurel House, I have grown in compassion and patience.

What is your favorite verse?

My favorite verse is Romans 3:22-24: “the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ [is] for all who believe. For there is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”

What motivates you on the tough days?

What motivates me on the tough days is knowing that we are never given more than we can handle, and it is a waste of time not being happy!

Join Tara and her coworkers!

Would you like to work for one of the Top Workplaces in Orange County? Go to 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.


Socks from Jocks: Thank you Aliso Niguel High School Boys Basketball Team!

It is always brings me joy when I see community-minded young people with a heart to care for others!  Every year, Aliso Niguel High School boys’ basketball team hosts a sock and food drive to benefit Orange County Rescue Mission! This event, cleverly called Socks from Jocks, is an incredible blessing to the Rescue Mission. This year, the team collected 2,786 pounds of food and 6 large bags of socks, shoes and coats.

These items will not only help the residents here at the Rescue Mission, but also the homeless community throughout Orange County, as our Outreach team shares them with people in need. A huge thanks to the Aliso Niguel High School boys’ basketball team for carrying on this 13 year tradition of caring for the Least, the Last, and the Lost!

If you and your team/group would like to organize a drive to benefit the homeless of Orange County, please contact Ashley at (714) 247-4343  or for more information!

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.


Last Chance to Give!

In just a few days, we will collectively close the chapter that was 2017.  Another year has gone by and what an incredible year it was!  Thanks to your help, Orange County Rescue Mission has been able to provide meals, shelter, wraparound care, and hope to several hundreds of homeless men, women, and children over the past 12 months.  We are eager to continue this great work in 2018!

Recently, I shared with you about the shortfall we experienced in November.  Thanks to your incredible support, we have begun to address that need.  However, we still need help to completely close the gap.

As you reflect on 2017 and begin to make plans for 2018, I ask you to consider ending your year with a gift to Orange County Rescue Mission.  Your generosity and support can make an amazing difference in the lives of homeless men, women, and children as we strive to help even more people get off the street in 2018.  I know that with your help, we can make an impact on homelessness in our community, one life at a time.

If you would like to join me in caring for the Least, the Last, and the Lost of our community in these last few days of 2017, please consider giving a meaningful gift by clicking here.  From all of us here at Orange County Rescue Mission, thank you for your generosity and support and we look forward to another year of partnership as we care for those who need it most!

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.


Thank YOU for Bringing Joy and Hope to the Rescue Mission This Holiday Season!

As 2017 and the holiday season comes to a close, I am once again humbled by the heart and compassion of the Orange County community.  As always, this holiday season brought with it not only excitement and joy, but an increased need.  More families and individuals arrived at our gates, looking for a warm meal, a place to stay and help getting back on their feet.  On top of this, we found ourselves facing a critical shortfall for the month of November.

But you, our friends and neighbors in Orange County, rose to the occasion and have showed nothing but generosity and support as you have helped us face this incredible need!  Donations of food for Thanksgiving, gifts for Christmas, and help to fill the gap left by the shortfall began to pour in.  It has been truly remarkable to witness God stir in the hearts of Orange County neighbors to help the Rescue Mission when we needed it most.

This holiday season, the Orange County community has truly embodied the holiday spirit of selflessness and giving!  Because of your support, hungry mouths are fed and homeless families are housed.  People shared a warm meal on Thanksgiving and children woke up safe and warm on Christmas day.  Because of you, people that have been long ignored and overlooked now know they are cared for and loved.  These are things that can  so easily be taken for granted, but for the residents of the Rescue Mission, make a world of difference.

It is a joy to serve the Least, the Last, and the Lost of Orange County alongside you, my neighbors and friends.  Together, we can care for the hurting and broken of our community, one life at a time.  Please enjoy these photos knowing that you played a part in giving these people hope, joy, and love this holiday season.

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.


Merry Christmas from Orange County Rescue Mission!

With great joy we welcome a season to celebrate the world-changing truth that “the Word became human and made His home among us” (John 1:14)!  To receive and experience that Jesus Christ, in His unfailing love and faithfulness, came to rescue and restore us, even in our brokenness and darkness, is the greatest gift that we could ever know.  The depth of this truth reaches into the hearts of the Least, the Last, and the Lost, and changes lives as nothing else can.

It is our great privilege here at the Orange County Rescue Mission to share this glorious truth with all who enter our gates.  It is a joy unlike any other to watch the hope of Jesus Christ transform hearts and restore lives.   We get to see firsthand families and individuals who once lived in darkness come to know the love and hope of Jesus.

Thanks to your support, these people are now waking up on Christmas morning, warm, safe, fed, and loved.  May your Christmas be blessed, the way you have blessed all of us here at the Rescue Mission!  Merry Christmas!

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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