Fill their wish list

Mary could no longer make ends meet before San Diego Rescue Mission.

There are hundreds of people in San Diego County just like Mary. They come here with very basic wishes at Christmas… food to satisfy hunger… a refuge from the streets… and help getting back on their feet.

Give now to bless them with the most wonderful Christmas gifts: food, shelter, help… and a chance to experience God’s love that heals broken lives.

Share your Christmas joy by sharing a generous gift now!



We See You

Same Kind of Different As Me

When you give a homeless man a plate of food, you are telling him, “I see you”.

We are seeing it more and more. Outside our local stores, in our neighborhoods, along the streets of downtown – more and more of our brothers and sisters experiencing homelessness.

We recently invited our Home Team Monthly Giving Partners to a pre-screening of the film “The Same Kind of Different as Me” – a powerful movie about the relationship between a homeless man and the volunteers at a Rescue Mission. It was so inspiring to watch how the process of giving, I mean really giving, impacted the lives of the volunteers – sometimes even more so than the homeless people they helped.

In one of the scenes, a homeless man named Denver (played by Djimon Housou) asks Ron, a wealthy volunteer played by Greg Kinnear, “What do you think a homeless person thinks when you give them a plate of food?” Ron, not sure how to answer the question says, “I’m helping?” No, Denver says, “You are saying ‘You See Me’”.

And this is what we do every day at San Diego Rescue Mission. Our volunteers, case workers, staff – we SEE the people who are struggling on our streets. They are San Diegans with stories. Stories that have led them to lose their way, and many times their voice.

Just last week we honored the 116 men and women who died alone on the streets of San Diego. During this important event, we carry the shoes of the deceased, and we tell their stories  – because they can no longer tell it.

Donnie Dee at Candlelight Vigil

Here I am at our annual Candlelight Vigil helping to tell the stories of the 116 homeless individuals who died alone on the streets in San Diego this year. We will remember you.

Their stories are not always related to drug addiction, crime or alcohol abuse. In fact, many San Diegans are just a job loss, injury or eviction away from ending up on the streets.  Homeless individuals are not all the same. They do not all have the same story. But they all need help turning their story around.

Every 3 months, we celebrate those clients who are changing their story through our special Graduation Ceremonies. Each graduation at the Mission represents the effort and important role every single person on this team plays to help a homeless individual turn their story around. Volunteers, Case Mangers, Donors, Board members, Staff everyone plays a role.  My hope is get more people on this team, so we can help more San Diegans get off the streets and turn their story around. Let’s turn these graduation ceremonies into BIG events in San Diego!

Homeless Lives MatterBefore I close, I’d like to share one more powerful line from the movie I mentioned earlier. It happens in one of the last scenes of the movie when Denver says, “We are all homeless. We are all just trying to get home.”

And this is so true. Whether you live in Ranch Santa Fe or on the streets of downtown, we are all trying to find our way to God. We are all trying to find our way home. We can all benefit from more love, compassion and connection.

“God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them”. – Hebrew 6:10

So let’s do this together. Let’s find our way home together.

Lets work together to let San Diego’s lost, least and lonely know that “We See You”. We want to be a part of your story. And let’s commit to making our next Graduation Ceremony an even bigger success.

God Bless

Donnie Dee




Donnie Dee



Help put us over the top


38,590 meals by Thanksgiving. That’s our goal – and our challenge! – this month.

Help now by making a gift and pushing us one step closer toward feeding even more people.

Each $2.05 meal you provide is SO MUCH MORE than a plate of food. It’s a chance for people to change their lives. To end their hunger. To put homelessness behind them.

Please help meet this huge holiday goal! Fill plates with food and lives with hope by making a special Thanksgiving gift today.




Staff Spotlight: Oscar Torres

Oscar Torres

“I want to thank San Diego Rescue Mission for saving my life”- Oscar Torres, Men’s Center Program Director.

Meet Oscar Torres, Men’s Center Program Director here at San Diego Rescue Mission.

Oscar first walked through our doors 13 years ago, not looking for employment, but rather as a homeless man with a 10 year drug addiction in need of desperate help.

Committed to rebuilding his life, Oscar successfully completed the 12-month residential rehabilitation program. But after graduation, his work didn’t stop there.

“As an Alumni, I would stop by the Rescue Mission every morning and pray with the guys in intake before heading out to start my day, “ he explained. “After about nine months, I was approached by the Associate Director who asked if I was interested in working as a First Step Residential Advisor.”

As the new First Step Residential Advisor in the Men Center, Oscar’s duties  included making sure clients followed guidelines, getting them to chapel and meal times, and being available to bring anyone into the program who showed up for help. There was always more work to be done at San Diego Rescue Mission, and Oscar continued to make himself available for the task. He quickly moved from First Step Manager to Transition Manger to Lead Residential Manager to Program Coordinator. (Just to name a few of the positions he took on!) He even went on to become certified as an Addictions Treatment Counselor.

Today, Oscar proudly oversees the entire Men’s Center Program. This critical program incorporates a holistic approach to recovery, addressing the needs of the mind, body, and soul which help clients confront and overcome the problems that led to homelessness in the first place. His job includes ensuring our staff and clients continue to uphold our statement of faith, standard operating procedures, state licensing requirements and most of all, ensure our clients receive the proper treatment they need.

“I stand alongside these men and walk them through the process of becoming a productive citizen in our community and become free from any alcohol and drug addiction,” says Oscar.

“What I like best about working at San Diego Rescue Mission is being able to be front and center when these men come in from the streets with no hope, no self-esteem, and watch the Holy Spirit work through them. We have many talented men who come through this program and to see them walk across the stage on graduation day and move on to becoming all they can be is an incredible feeling. To know that I had a part in that… WOW who wouldn’t want to work here!,” he says.

Recently, Oscar had a client come back to see him 2 years after graduating. He explained that because of the help he received, he was able to re-connect with his family. His mother got her son back.  His siblings got their brother back. And his wife, who filed for divorce, took him back. They are now remarried and he is a father to his kids again. “He is back to where is supposed to be. And it was all because we kept planting God’s word in him, and never gave up on him.”

“San Diego Rescue Mission feels like a family to me. I want to thank the Mission for saving my life.”


Be a blessing to others

77,180 meals. In just 60 days.

We can’t do it without you!

Help meet this huge Thanksgiving goal! Your gift now will provide meals and care for our community’s hungry and homeless this holiday season.

Help now. Share a gift. Be a blessing to people in San Diego County.

As a “THANK YOU!” for your help, we’d like to share our Blessings Booklet with you. Just download the free booklet above.

Thank you for your help!




This is a Team I Can Win With

Donnie DeeBy Donnie Dee

As a former NFL Football player, I know I’m only as strong as the team. And in my first 45 days here as CEO and President, I’ve become in awe of the team here at San Diego Rescue Mission. This staff, the volunteers, the Board… they are all here for the right reasons.  And I’m confident that God positioned us together strategically to be a solution for our homeless neighbors.

During these first weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to get to know the staff through “All Staff” meetings, one-on-ones and a survey – which by the way, revealed that 74% of our staff said they feel a sense of “calling” to the Rescue Mission. Through these interactions, I’ve learned just how committed the team is. Here are just a few examples:

We have staff members who drive 1.5 hours every day from Temecula/Murrieta, and another who drives 2 hours from El Centro.

We have a program director who worked a 16 hour day (more than once!) because a Residential Advisor (RA) was ill.

Our Children’s Center director has taken our clients’ clothes home with her and washed them in her own washer and dryer.

We had an RA perform chest compressions on a client who was unresponsive until paramedics could get there and give her a diabetes shot.

Childrens Center

Our Children’s Center director has taken our clients’ clothes home with her and washed them in her own washer and dryer.

We had 10 of our Board Members attend the first board meeting with me as president – and  7  attended our clients’ graduation in July.

Just recently, I had a program director show up in my office in tears. She was distraught over a client who had to be discharged from the program due to a code of conduct violation. The director knew that if this individual went back to the streets, it would be the worst case scenario. We sat down, and worked together to see how we could get her back on track – back into the program.

Those are just a handful of examples showing the commitment of this staff.  They aren’t doing it for the hours, the pay, or a stress free work environment. They do it for the homeless, hungry and hurting people we serve every day. I’m inspired by the work they do.  It makes me want to strive to serve them even better.

Part of my mission in my first weeks here, was to assist in the decision and hiring process for two key positions.

As many of you know, our VP of Programs stepped down a month before I got here. As we conducted interviews to find the perfect replacement, we realized that our strongest candidates were those who already worked here.

Helping homeless

Winning means eliminating homelessness one life at a time.

We ended up promoting two long time staff members for the roles. I’m so pleased to announce that Jeremy Dawsey- Richardson, formerly Program Director of the Recuperative Care Unit is our new VP of Programs. And James Pope, formerly Men’s Center Director, will be filling the newly created position of VP of Evangelism and Discipleship.  This new position is designed to create a greater awareness around the spiritual development aspect of what we do. You’ll be hearing more about Jeremy and James, and their new roles, in the upcoming months.

As discussed in my last blog post “A New Calling Revealed,” I knew God had a plan for me.  And what I’ve experienced and seen here in my first 45 days has helped to confirm that I made the right choice. In my 27+ years of ministry, I don’t believe there is a more worthy cause that I’ve ever been associated with.

Not just because we feed and house homeless men, women and children, but more importantly, (and unlike other Government-funded nonprofits) we have the freedom and blessing to talk about faith and God. Together, we work to address issues of the heart and spirit.

Jesus changes lives and that’s the game changer!!

God Bless,

Donnie Dee





Hundreds of homeless and hungry guests from San Diego County will come to our table this Thanksgiving season for hot, nourishing meals.

That’s more than 115,800 meals here in our dining room!

Each $2.05 you give provides 1 more of those meals – and opens the door to important Rescue Mission services that are often the start of a new and better life.

Your gift now will help provide meals and so much more by Thanksgiving! Give generously to feed all those in need this holiday season.






Our Give Where You Live summer campaign is in its final weeks.

The challenge of caring for homeless and hungry folks in San Diego County is never done.

Offering a helping hand to our neighbors in need makes all the difference! Nourishing meals for people who are hungry, safe shelter for people who are homeless, and all the help possible for people taking bold steps to transform their lives through God’s love.

Please accept our invitation and impact lives right in your own backyard by sharing a gift below. Thank you!




A New Calling Revealed

By Donnie Dee

Donnie DeeI never planned on becoming the next President and CEO of San Diego Rescue Mission. I was enjoying my work as The Director of the Tom Landry Associates for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA).  It had been a fun season of watching my kids play college Basketball for USD and UCI, and volunteering my time on Christian Boards such as Worship for Kids. Of course, we were donors to the San Diego Rescue Mission, but becoming the next President and CEO? That was not my plan.

But God had a different plan for me.

It started when a friend forwarded me the job description of the new position and said “This is you!” Strategic Leadership, Visionary, Operations Management, Fundraising…  all things I have much experience with and was currently doing for FCA.  In the months that followed, my new calling was revealed through the interview process.  Amos 3:7

I was deeply impressed by the Board of Directors. I have a lot of experience dealing with different types of Boards, and this Board really stood out. I saw a genuine love for the Mission in each of them.

I was inspired by the staff. Their commitment was unwavering – from helping the clients to sharing their love of Christ. This was a team I wanted to help build, support and serve.

I was moved by Herb’s leadership. I toured the Mission and saw first-hand what he helped build the past 15+ years.  I caught his vision.

The Dee Family

Meet the Dee family. Known as a sports family involved in sports ministry, they are looking forward to this new journey. Johnny (USD) and Jenny (UCI) both played college basketball and Jackie ran cross country in college. Donnie was drafted by the NFL and went on to play for the Indianapolis Colts and Seattle Seahawks. (Photo from San Diego Union Tribune)

One afternoon, while touring the Emergency Overnight Shelter, I congratulated Herb on the incredible accomplishment of being able to shelter, feed and care for 80+ women and children each night. His response moved me further. “It’s not the 80+ individuals who stay here that I am concerned about. It’s the 200+ that I am not able to get in here that I think about most often.”

I was moved, but still found myself fighting with God. Is this what you want me to do? Why me? Why now? And that’s when I was challenged by a verse I had read many times.  Proverbs 21:13

“The one who shuts his ears to the cry of the poor will himself also call out and not be answered.”

That’s when concern and compassion started to become passion. God was allowing me to hear the cry in a fresh way. This was my new journey, my new assignment.

So here I am, the new CEO and President of San Diego Rescue Mission. I’ve made a commitment to serve and support those who work most directly with our clients and to make sure they have the resources, prayer support, and direction to make a greater impact.

I am looking forward to making this American’s Finest City –and it can’t be until we figure out the problem with people being homeless. In fact, San Diego has the 4th largest homeless population in the country.  We want to be part of the solution.

In addition to President and CEO, I am also the Chief Fundraiser. I believe that donors give to causes, but they invest in results. I plan to show results. I’m looking for men and women who want to invest – which is a much bigger commitment than giving. If we are going to make an impact in this community like we want, it’s going to take true ministry partners.

As I start this new calling as President and CEO, I look forward to getting to know each of you, our supporters, and continuing to build upon this great organization that has stayed so true to its original Mission for more than 60 years.

God Bless,
Donnie Dee
Donnie Dee

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