• Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens

    For some time, mission volunteers, Tim and Judy, had been donating items. With their children having flown the coop, they decided to get more personally involved. Thinking it was a different mission, they signed up online. Upon arrival, they discovered it wasn’t the ministry they signed up for, but were pleasantly surprised to see they…

  • One Giant Leap

    Growing up in Denver, Kevin’s childhood was relatively normal. His parents loved him, but he experienced quite a bit of anxiety. Not knowing how to deal with it, Kevin would cut himself and burn his legs as a form of self-expression. He said, “I always felt anxious and never felt peace. When I got to…

  • Service With a Smile

    Enedina’s pastor asked his church to help at the rescue mission. She responded joyfully and served. She enjoyed it so much she came back multiple times and has served in many different ways. She has packaged and handed out food, she has helped with Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners, and she has processed drop-off donations. Enedina’s…

  • A Father’s Future Focus

    Henry’s father was in a gang and led his family in the gang lifestyle. Struggling to be a good example to his son, Henry is now trying to break away from his past and lead his family in the right path. His initial break away came through sports, particularly football, baseball, and wrestling. Growing up,…

  • Community Comes Together to Make Christmas Special for Over 300 Children

    Printed in the Santa Maria Times, December 22, 2016 The Central Coast Rescue Mission teamed up with local churches, businesses and community members to provide gifts to more than 300 children Wednesday just in time for the holidays. Families with their children were welcomed into Santa Maria Foursquare Church, where they received a wrapped gift,…

  • Use it or Lose it

    The servant who hid his talent got it taken away and given to another. The lesson to be learned is, “use it or lose it.” To that end, Haela and her daughter are making the most of their opportunities by serving as volunteers. She says, “I went to a Bible study where a lady is…

  • Answer to Her Prayers

    Joy is a choice; Candice and her daughter Kim have decided to choose joy despite their circumstances. That is why, when you see them visiting the food pantry, you will find them with beautiful smiles as they reflect on God’s goodness. A woman living on Social Security, Candice has found it hard to make ends…

  • Thankful for God’s Healing

    Alejandra has been partaking of the food distribution in her community. She initially started coming for the food, and over time, began to develop relationships with the volunteers. She noted how loving the volunteers were and how full of faith they were in everything they did. When her husband, Sirelo, slipped into a coma after…

  • What would Thanksgiving be without a Turkey?

    “A friend brought me to the food pantry in Chatsworth. The pantry volunteers are so kind and loving. They always make sure my family has food. I do not know how we would get through the holidays without their help. I was able to provide my mom a turkey for her last Thanksgiving dinner. It…

  • Community Change Agent

    John arises early each morning, thankful for another day, tends to his morning routine – hygiene, breakfast, and some household chores, then marches off to catch the Metro at the boulevard, several blocks away. John travels from Tarzana, through Sherman Oaks, Van Nuys, and Panorama City arriving in Pacoima mid-morning. He makes friends easily and…

  • There’s no such thing as a little donor…or is there?

    Saige is one of our newest friends at the rescue mission. At 6 years old, she may be one of the littlest donors we’ve ever had. Saige was encouraged by her teacher at High Desert Church to think of a way she could serve the community, so she decided she wanted to sell cupcakes to…

  • Giving Hope, Getting Hope

    Mission volunteer Sandra isn’t in the midst of an easy season in life. Dealing with chronic pain and fighting several government agencies for compensation due to workplace injuries, she is giving her way to getting hope. “The mission is what is keeping me going, mentally and physically, because it gives me a purpose. The rescue…

  • Handing Out Happiness

    In order to graduate high school, mission volunteer Erika had to fulfill a certain amount of community service. While waiting until the last minute to complete the hours, she was directed to the mission. We put her to work, and procrastination over this senior project has turned into a habit of handing out happiness. Erika…

  • Miraculous Recovery

    “I shouldn’t be able to walk, talk, or see,” says Nathan. Several years ago, a tumor the size of a grapefruit was taken out of his skull. Immediately after the surgery, he felt better. His sight and hearing improved. Five days later, he walked out of the hospital on his own recognizance. Some might say…

  • It’s the Atmosphere

    “It’s the atmosphere!” thrift store employee Mike answered when asked. “What is your favorite part of working at the mission?” He continued, “The atmosphere is the most important part of any company. When you feel comfortable around your co-workers, it makes you want to come to work in the morning.” Over time, Mike has learned…

  • Finding Light at the End of the Tunnel

    Recovering from a heart attack and stroke, John wasn’t able to work. Being that his previous job was out of state, he wasn’t able to collect disability either. So John lost all he had and became homeless. John was not only homeless but hopeless as well. He says, “I was ready to give up. I…

  • Annual Christmas Toy Store

    Christmas is a magical time of year that should not be missed by any family. With our annual Christmas Toy Store, we hope to make the holidays memorable for our current and former guests. Each year, we partner with Pastor Dave Polus and Every Nation City Church to make that happen. This year’s store, held…

  • Wade’s Word – December

    The other day, I was sorting through some memorabilia in my garage, and I came across a photo from 23 years ago. The photo was of Dave, a homeless man who I had case managed in my early career. I was not able to share this story with him before he passed away from complications…

  • LA Rams Mascot, Cheerleaders Host Holiday Party at Valley Rescue Mission

    Printed in the Los Angeles Daily News, December 21, 2016 Los Angeles Rams mascot Rampage and the team’s cheerleaders joined forces with Albertsons, Vons and Pavilions employees Tuesday in Northridge, where they kicked off a holiday party at the San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission. Much to the delight of about 60 homeless and needy families,…

  • Wade’s Word – January

    The New Year is upon us and I always find that it is a great time to reflect, make course adjustments, and celebrate the past year’s accomplishments. For our team we recognize that we could not do our work without having generous donors, volunteers, and community partners working alongside us. In 2016, we continued to…

  • Pathway to Employment

    We are always grateful for our corporate partners who volunteer their time and share their resources with us. One of our most recent partners is Ralphs grocery. When Ralphs hosted their first event, it was quite a remarkable sight. Smiling employees began pouring out of their cars and into our playground with boxes of toys,…

  • Fearless Kids Conquer School and Roller Coasters

    As a reward for academic performance, the kids from our family shelter were treated to a day at Universal Studios. The day started with students receiving brand new backpacks, shoes, clothes, hygiene products, jackets, and story books all thanks to Operation School Bells. The students received VIP treatment throughout the whole day at the park….

  • When Smiles Are Extra Precious

    In partnership with the Santa Maria Foursquare Church and with Grace Baptist Church, the mission is reaching out to the many homeless children that live in north Santa Barbara County. Of all the counties in California, Santa Barbara County has the highest percentage of homeless students in its school systems (13.6%), and most of that…

  • A Wanted Man

    “Nobody wanted me around,” says Travis. “I grew up in the San Fernando Valley and had a violent childhood.  I watched my step-dad shoot a gun out of the house window at my mother. At the age of 12, my step-dad gave me meth so I would play better in a baseball game. After experiencing…

  • A Mother’s Story

    Susan has been receiving food assistance from her local food pantry since she lost her daughter and her husband’s work slowed down. Here is her story of how the food you help us provide is making a huge difference in struggling families’ lives. “The past few years we have struggled in many areas of our…

  • We Can Do It!

    Thrift store employee, Rosie, embodies all the hard work and determination of the World War II, muscle-bound, icon who shares her name. That was Rosie the Riveter. Her motto, “We Can Do It!”, is shared by our Rosie as well. She states, “Prior to this building turning into a thrift store it used to be…

  • Answered Prayer

    Irma visited International Community Church’s food pantry for the first time a few months ago. She lives with her husband and teenage daughter in a low-income hotel in the Van Nuys area and collects cans and bottles for recycling in order to earn money to support her family. The first time Irma visited the pantry…

  • Finding Hope

    “I’ve been at the mission ten months and the biggest change is finding hope,” says Timothy. “Before, I was disconnected. I had a rough childhood. I went through a bitter break up and a custody battle that left me homeless. I spent my last dime on a lawyer. I lost my son. I was living…

  • A Place to Catch her Breath

    Walking into the mission today, you will be greeted by one of our guests, Martha. Martha is affectionately called, “Grandma” by some of our younger guests. She and her daughter Denise became homeless after Denise was laid off. When the economy took a downward turn, Denise was unable to find a job. After going through…

  • Wade’s Word – February

    For the past eight years, the San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission has been providing showers to our chronically homeless neighbors through our mobile shower program. Over the years, we have provided thousands of people with the opportunity to enhance their dignity through this program. We have also helped several other groups start similar programs throughout…

  • Clean Starts

    We are always looking for new ways to help those we serve live fulfilling lives and better serve our community. The Clean Starts/Clean Streets program is an excellent example of a new program we launched recently. In partnership with Councilmember Mitchell Englander, Northridge Sparkle and Mayor Garcetti’s office, the mission piloted this program to provide…

  • Making Change a Friend

    “This place has changed my life from where I was to where I am at now. I’m healthy. I’m off the streets. I’m helping others instead of taking from them. I’m learning about God. What He is doing in my life now is amazing because I’ve never really liked change and He is changing me….

  • Shaping Character, Serving Customers

    Thrift store volunteer Gino says, “We are not just selling stuff to roll it up into our pockets for a profit. These men are our future. How we help, these men will shape the character of tomorrow. I’m all for it.” Gino understands the place he volunteers and ‘gets’ the vision of Central Coast Super…

  • Conflict Resolution

    Juan recalls, “There was a lot of conflict in my home growing up. There was a lot of yelling and fighting. I made the decision to never be like them. Seeing how the conflict tore the family apart, I never wanted to be a part of it. I couldn’t live like that anymore, I remember I…

  • A Mission With a Vision

    The future is not a promised thing for us; we have only one opportunity. It happens every time we wake up in the morning. This is the next 24 hours of our life here on earth, where we can make a difference in the lives of those around us. Our opportunity to do ministry here…

  • Nothing Made Her Better

    At first Elvia came to the food pantry for the same reason many people come; they are in need of food! Like most, Elvia found out about the distribution through a friend and decided to check it out. Once there, she was shocked by the number of people and the abundance of food. She noticed…

  • Inspiration and Life Changing – Letter of Thanks

    “My Wife and I are truly blessed to have found the food ministry! Anyone at any time can fall on hard times. What a gift to know you can receive inspiration and help at the same time. We are truly inspired and blessed to have Pastor Lorraine and Frank Coconato in our lives. The food…

  • Pursing Big Dreams Through Small Business

    This past year, through our partnership with The Pepperdine Microenterprise Program, several of our guests have been able to pursue their dreams of starting their own small businesses. The program, through Pepperdine University, is designed to help underprivileged members of the Los Angeles community find gainful employment and launch micro-businesses. In December of 2016, three…

  • Reap What You Sow

    The Bible is very clear that you reap what you sow. For those sowing good seed, this is a principle that brings comfort. Such was the case for a recent new guest to the Food Pantry. Marleen is a volunteer for an outreach program that assists single parents provide essential items for their children such…

  • From Helper to Helped

    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….

  • Thank YOU!

    Boris would visit our food pantry every Tuesday. He would walk from his home three blocks away and would always be wearing a pressed dress shirt, tie, and neatly pleated slacks. After speaking to him, we learned that he had lost his aerospace job in Nevada earlier in 2011. So, he decided to move back…

  • 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…

  • Drought has Impact Beyond the Obvious

    The current drought is a very real issue to anyone living in Southern California. Our lawns are getting browner, our showers are getting shorter, and our water bills are getting higher. And even at the food pantries, folks are feeling the effects of the drought. With the ever-increasing price of groceries, more Southern California residents…

  • Desperate Prayers of a Desperate Man

    I was a fully functioning alcoholic. I worked a good job making a good living. I had a great place to live and on the outside, I seemed content and happy. Slowly I was destroying my life and living in a pit of depression. Several times in different places, I have seen this pattern in…

  • Rosie Loves to Help!

    Rosie has been receiving food from Calvary Baptist Church’s Thursday food distribution for a while, and she always arrives early. One very hot summer day, she was standing under a shade tree trying to keep cool while waiting for the food distribution to start. The director of the ministry saw her and invited her inside…

  • A Strange Answer to Prayer – One prayer led him to the mission

    So many things have affected my life; drug dealing, being in a gang, abuse, my addiction, failed relationships, etc. It all came to an end on April 1, 2014. That night it seemed I had nothing to live for. I wasn’t being a parent. I was strung out. The police were looking for me. It’s…

  • Set Free…

    My name is Rob Sullivan and I am letting Jesus change my life here at Central Coast Rescue Mission. I was an out of control meth addict – I bought, sold, and made meth for 17 years. Meth was my way of life. I felt that I needed meth to fuel my desire for money,…

  • Gods Promises are True!

    My childhood was a good one. I grew up healthy with a loving father and mother. I knew deep down inside that there was a God, but in my early teens I began learning about the world and fell away from any belief that I had. When I was 12, my father moved away for…

  • Rescue Mission serves up early Thanksgiving dinner

    Published in the Santa Maria Times (Link to Article) Food served by volunteers from local churches, nonprofit organizations and businesses was piled high onto plates for hundreds of Santa Maria residents getting a free Thanksgiving feast Tuesday. “Santa Maria takes care of its people, and what isn’t provided, we will provide to make sure every…

  • First Time Visitors to the Food Pantry

    Their names are Joshua and Hillary. About three years ago, Hilary’s mother passed away, they lost custody of their child, and have been on the street living out of their car, which they share with three dogs.

  • Experiencing God’s Unconditional Love!

    When I came to the Lighthouse for Women and Children, I was a mess. I had just gotten out of Hillmont Mental Hospital and just got my two boys back. I had nowhere to go with my children. We were sleeping on my friend’s couch and had all our things in my car. We had…

  • Under Construction

    In Psalm 40 it says, “I waited patiently for the Lord. He turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the mud and mire, he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.” This verse is my story in a nutshell. I was raised in…

  • 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:…

  • Real Food!

    It was over two years ago that I first came to the Victor Valley Rescue Mission for food. It was then that I began to sense that these people had some food that was not natural: something that brought joy and wholeness that I truly wanted. Since that time, I entered the Life Recovery Program…

  • Residents of rescue mission in Oxnard reunite with familes

    Published in the Star Free Press (Link to article) Rudy Garcia, a married father of five, was addicted to methamphetamine and lost custody of his children when he and his wife decided to change their lives with help from the Ventura County Rescue Mission. “We were without a home and burned all of our bridges…

  • 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…

  • Striving to Serve More Families

    Opening the 90-bed family shelter last year was the culmination of years of planning and work, but we knew when it opened that we would need to do much more. As the housing and homelessness crisis deepens in Los Angeles and in the San Fernando Valley, the need for solutions is growing quickly and it…

  • The Life Recovery Program in Action

    Jake grew up attending church and had spent time volunteering with his youth group at the Ventura County Rescue Mission. He never thought he would one day be one of the residents of the recovery program. His addictions caused him to lose his wife, lose his job, and spend time ‘couch surfing’. He was strung…

  • A Special Kind of Store

    For one day only, part of the Every Nation City Church becomes a very special shop where our families, past and present, can ‘shop’ for Holiday Gifts. The idea came to us a few years back when we saw how happy parents were to be able to give a gift, no matter how small, to…

  • Wade’s Word: More Guests, More Thanksgiving Blessings

    Thanksgiving is right around the corner and as you read this, we will be in our state-of-the-art kitchen whipping up dinner for 750 of our dear friends and neighbors. In case you are curious what that takes, here is a partial shopping list: 400 pounds of Turkey 75 loaves of bread 375 pounds of mashed…

  • Thanksgiving at the Mission

    At Thanksgiving, no one should go hungry in the San Fernando Valley. Around San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission’s tables, there will be poor and homeless men, women, and children – who are out of a job, out of money, or struggling with addictions having their first Thanksgiving on the streets. For these people, real change…

  • What if your dream is small?

    Dream big! That’s what we’re supposed to say to our kids and our friends and to the world in general. We’re supposed to pursue audacious goals and work hard to achieve them. I believe in dreaming big, otherwise I’m in the wrong line of work. But, I also believe in dreaming small. Imagine that the…

  • There’s no such thing as a little donor…or is there?

    Saige is one of our newest friends at the rescue mission. At 6 years old, she may be one of the littlest donors we’ve ever had. Saige was encouraged by her teacher at High Desert Church to think of a way she could serve the community, so she decided she wanted to sell cupcakes to…

  • Backpacks for Students

    VICTORVILLE • A group of local organizations handed out 600 backpacks to K-12 students on Thursday in preparation for the upcoming academic year. The group, which included Victor Valley Rescue Mission and High Desert Transitional Living, gave backpacks containing school supplies to students at the First Christian Church in Victorville, VVRM employee Veronica Trujillo said….

  • SFV Rescue Mission Forges New Bonds with CSUN

    The facility, just blocks from campus, has allowed the partnership between the Rescue Mission and CSUN to develop even greater synergy. The university’s Unified We Serve group funnels scores of student and staff volunteers to the Rescue Mission, where they play with the children and assist with homework, serve meals and coordinate clothing drives. Click…

  • Parenting Class – Incentives Program

    Through our collaboration with the Master in Social Work program at California State University Northridge, we host weekly parenting classes focused on empowering parents and supporting the whole family. Cynthia Lemus, a first year MSW student, co-leads the classes. To support parents, Cynthia created an incentives program that rewards children for positive behaviors and promotes…

  • Recycled Bicycles Bring Hope

    Fleet Street Bicycles has been a community fixture for several years, offering bicycle repair and refurbishing as well as bicycle safety education. Fleet Street’s bicycle mechanics include residents of Pacific Lodge Youth Services in Woodland Hills who are trained by dedicated volunteers. The young men ages 13 to 18 are in the juvenile justice system

  • Pint-Sized Super Hero Makes a Huge Difference

    By day, mild mannered James is as you would expect a four-year-old to be; bright, cheery, active and busy at school and play. But what many don’t know is that he has a not-so-secret identity: He is Action Movie Kid! James’ dad, Daniel Hashimoto is a visual effects artist who cleverly animates his son’s antics…

  • Volunteer Shining Star: Raquel

    Raquel has been a San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission Volunteer since January 2016. She is a shining star in the mission’s kitchen, creating and serving beautiful, healthy meals for the residents. Additionally, she shares her love and kindness to the children, spending quality time with them.