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Stories of Hope

Testimonies of lives that were changed for good.

Archived Stories

Ventura County Rescue Mission

Finding Love

Although Matt grew up in a Christian home in Orange County, he experienced physical and verbal abuse as a child. He was introduced to drugs and alcohol in high school and thought he found the perfect escape from his painful reality. What started as rebellion, turned into destruction. He went to rehab for two months and was able to remain sober for a couple years, but the roller coaster of addiction continued. “Little by little, my life was crumbling apart.

I was torn up and I never dealt with issues inside, so I kept slipping into depression and even attempted suicide.” He ended up on the streets, and would spend nights sleeping in the sand on the beach. “I was always scared. It didn’t feel right to wake up and not have a place to shower. Thankfully, my wife found the Ventura County Rescue Mission and dropped me off here. It’s a miracle that I am still married today. I was very nervous coming here, but I knew I needed help. The staff has been so great to me. I love the classes, especially the teaching about spiritual warfare. Also, I get to learn a vocation in the mission’s kitchen.

I am so free. It’s just like I read in the scriptures, where in Psalm 27:3, David talks about how free he feels inside his heart, and that is how I feel. The biggest change that has happened in my life is seeing prayers answered right in front of my eyes. It has even affected my wife, and she is involved in ministry now.

If I could sum up my experience at the mission in one word, it would be LOVE. And I would like to thank you. You are helping us so much with your donations. It really is changing my life. I am so thankful.” Because of you, Matt is being set free from addiction and being restored at the mission. ~ Matt

San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission

A Family's Tradition of Caring

Brooke Perlman first learned about generosity from her parents, Greg and Jodi Perlman. “When I was very young, my parents would buy and deliver presents to underprivileged families at Christmas time. Being on a personal level with someone was such a good feeling, and I never forgot that.”

Brooke, a high school junior, joined her father Greg on a visit to a recently graduated mission family, a single mom with three daughters, two very close in age to Brooke. Greg, through his foundation called Always Up, is an avid supporter of San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission. The foundation has committed to helping families transition to self-sufficiency by helping them with expenses for basic household items from appliances to bedding, kitchen gear and more. Brooke was amazed by how grateful the families are for the support they receive from ‘AllWays Up’. The family they met was so happy to be on their own and set up with a few necessities.”

Brooke’s enthusiasm for helping others is growing. She recently created a foundation of her own called ‘No Place Like Home’. She hopes to furnish college bound students identified for scholarships by her dad’s foundation with the basics they will need to start college off in comfort. “We have had drives and donation events at my high school and we are approaching different suppliers for things such as personal items, bedding, shower cadies and those little things that make a huge difference to a student who is far from home.

As she looks back on growing up in a family defined by their generosity, Brooke has nothing but praise and gratitude for her parents. “My mom and dad started this foundation for us and it is so inspiring. It is something I want to be a part of for the rest of my life.” And thanks to the Perlman family’s generosity and enthusiasm, we are all forever changed.

Central Coast Rescue Mission 

I Need to Make a U-Turn

My name is Cody Tucker and I am 23 years old. I was born and raised in Santa Maria. I was a good athlete in high school, but I began to drink and party. This caused me to lose sight of what is important in life. After high school I completed two years at Allan Hancock College and got my welding and machinist certificates. After that I began to work for the same company as my father.

I started off in the oilfields as a Roustabout and after two years worked my way up to lead equipment operator. I also worked on offshore oil rigs as a Rope access technician. But my drinking never went away. I got two DUI’s when I was eighteen years old; one of them was a felony DUI because I rolled my jeep off the Colson Canyon Road. Thankfully no one was hurt, except me, in a lot of ways! I have been on probation for almost five years now. Then I made a mistake and violated my probation by being in a bar one night, so I faced either doing jail time or join a recovery program. I’m so glad I was able to join the Central Coast Rescue Mission’s Life Recovery Program.

I realized I was trying to stop drinking on my own, but it wasn’t working. I also realized that I was drinking to drown some hurts and lies I was carrying on the inside. I discovered that God wasn’t mad at me, He had been waiting all this time for me to turn to Him. Like the bumper sticker says, “God allows U-turns.”

God has helped me restore relationship with my family. I bring my little brother to church with me on Sundays, and I have an opportunity to return to work. I am so grateful, God has me on a new path altogether.  ~ Cody

Valley Food Bank

From Help to Helper

Hello, my name is Jamie. About a year and a half ago, I visited the Thursday food giveaway and I immediately felt at home. The people were nice and generous and it meant so much to me because I had been out of work for a while due to a hand injury at my job.

My parents always taught me to help others and, to this day, that plays a huge part of who I am. I not only receive great, nutritious food from the food giveaway, but I am proud to say that I am a dedicated volunteer. I thank the Valley Food Bank for providing the food for the giveaway because I am there almost every week. I see first-hand what a blessing it is to the entire community – people of all walks of life.

Victor Valley Rescue Mission

Looking Into the Struggle

I have always been an avid reader. I often read three or four books at a time. One day, when I saw a group of small children at the local homeless shelter, I began to think about what I could do to touch these lives. I started doing research and kept coming back to literacy: discovering that ninety percent of those on welfare or food stamps struggle to read. The Ready-For-Reading Book Club was born from that desire to help, and my organization does crafts, reads books, and plants hope in young lives and their families.

My volunteer force is comprised of adults in the Welfare-To-Work Program. We work with the Victor Valley Rescue Mission at community events and at the pantry one time each month. We provide books, but we also set up crafts and face painting to engage the children and sow tiny seeds of hope and self-esteem. I use a cognitive approach to engage children and families in using their five senses as I impart my love for literacy. Reading is not simply an avenue for success and self-esteem, but has been shown to lower stress by as much as sixty-percent in a matter of minutes.

Volunteers help prepare crafts, sort books, and prepare themes. I also meet with my volunteers weekly and help prepare them for the working world. We cover preparing for interviews, how to dress, hair and nails, exercise, and spiritual health. Volunteers also do job searches each day, get help with homework, and I address nutrition too. My belief is that the better a person feels about him or herself, the better that attitude reflects to others.

My most blessed partnership is with the mission. Veronica, Community Relations staff at the mission, had prayed for a reading program. She has encouraged and accepted me without reservation. The Victor Valley Rescue Mission does a wonderful job of embracing the other charities in the community. The mission serves without ownership and sees all those whom we serve as ours, as a partnership. Too often, the people we serve are in a bubble and the world just happens to them. Our working together bursts that bubble, allowing fresh air to breathe upon hurting souls. ~ Lynette