A week before vacation I had the privilege to spend some time down on Los Angeles’s Skid Row at the Union Rescue Mission. It was so insightful that its worthy of more than one post.
We all see the homeless everyday and I know that I struggle with what to do? Do I turn a blind eye? Do I give a dollar or perhaps some food? Do I support an organization that does this and has been taking care of the homeless and hungry since 1893? After my time at the Union Rescue Mission, I think the latter option is the answer.
The Union Rescue Mission began during California’s boom at the turn of the last century. Men were coming by the thousands in search of gold and oil hoping to make their fortunes. However, when these people found themselves without a job, food or shelter there was no place to turn, until a man named Lyman Stewart decided to step in.
Lyman had made his fortune in oil and saw the hundreds of hungry and homeless and decided to take action. He had his men start providing food, to over 500 people everyday, with their horse driven wagons on Main Street. By 1907, the URM had purchased a site to continue its work.
When the Great Depression hit, the Mission supplied 42 percent of all free meals provided by private charities in Los Angeles. A staggering amount.
Today, the Mission provides over 1.2 million meals each year to the over 74,000 homeless men, women and children in Los Angeles County.
That legacy and growth of the Mission has been handed down over the generations to many stewards of this incredible organization. On Wednesday, I know you will be inspired by Andy Bales, the current CEO and his passion for breaking the cycle of poverty and homelessness.
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