Let’s “Open More Doors” to a Better Life for San Diego’s Lost, Hungry + Alone

Homeless and Hungry

In 2013, we served over 448,000 meals to San Diego’s homeless. Pictured here are some of the homeless and hungry waiting to enter the Mission for our annual Thanksgiving meal. Click here to view our full “Year in Review” to see more ways you helped in 2013.

Wow, what a year it’s been!

Because of your generous support in 2013, 1,522 women and 690 children were safe in our emergency shelter instead of being out on the cold, dangerous streets last year. We served over 448,000 hot, nutritious meals and I watched 87 men and 9 women graduate from our year- long residential recovery program.

As we move into 2014, I hope to open more doors for San Diego’s homeless by expanding our life-saving programs and services here at the San Diego Rescue Mission.

As I told Diane Bell of the San Diego Union Tribune for her recent article highlighting resolutions of some of San Diego’s top local leaders, this year “we will strive to provide the highest level of rehabilitation and housing services to the least, the lost and the forgotten of this community. Every night we house nearly 380 souls. That includes 75 to 80 children and more than 60 mothers in our emergency overnight shelter. Our 12-to-16 month residential recovery programs extend lifesaving services to nearly 250. There still are nearly 5,000 unsheltered homeless or indigent citizens who need our continued support to survive and be safe in this wonderful city.”

Herb Johnson with Baby

Although I don’t do this important work for the personal awards or recognition, I was deeply honored to receive the Humanitarian Award this year during the Central San Diego Black Chamber of Commerce’s Holiday Gala.

In addition to providing more nights of shelter and hot meals, a major goal of 2014, is to raise a minimum of $175,000 and open a preschool for the homeless children staying at the Mission each night.

Currently, the infants and preschool aged children and their moms staying at our Women and Children’s Emergency Shelter, have to be back on the streets by 7am each morning. Per the terms of our conditional use permit they can not come back until our doors open at 7pm each night.

A preschool at the Mission would provide these children a safe environment to learn and grow. This video from KPBS does an excellent job showing what life is like for these young families on the streets each day, and how critical a preschool for homeless children can be to their survival.

As we begin our 59th year of caring for people who are hungry, homeless and in need, I want to thank you for being a “door opener.”

For many of the men, women and children who come to San Diego Rescue Mission, life has been so hard for so long that it’s often difficult for them to believe that there is another way to live,for them this is “a door to a better life.”

Mother's Wish

Tomorrow, new faces will come through our doors. They will be hungry, homeless and lost.

You are the person who helps open that door!

It may start with a simple meal or a night of safe shelter. A chapel message. Or a conversation with a staff member.

Tomorrow, new faces will come through our doors. They will be hungry, homeless and lost.

As we move into 2014, I hope you help us continue to feed them, give them a warm place to sleep and begin the work that returns them to their homes, their families and their communities. Your support is a great blessing that is never taken for granted.

God Bless!
Herb Johnson