The Blessings of Human Connection

Thanksgiving for Homeless

During our Thanksgiving Outreach meal, one of our long-time volunteers shared the blessing of human connection with one of our guests in need.

As we prepare for another holiday season and the busyness that comes with it, I’d like you to take a moment and think about the importance of human connection or in some cases re-connection.

As humans, our need for social connection is as strong as the need for food, water and warmth. And when we experience social pain, like feeling degraded, undeserving or unloved, the feeling is as real as physical pain.

In fact, this is one of the first things God said, “It’s not good for man to be alone.”  We were created for connection. We were created in the image of God and The Bible says God is love. And to love, you have to have somebody to love.

I come from a broken home. My parents divorced when I was in 8th grade. However, even divorced, we still got together and celebrated as family – with grandparents. I was fortunate that my family valued connection and an ability to look past differences and come together to celebrate the holidays.

This is why I’m so grateful for San Diego Rescue Mission. Our holiday meals provide an opportunity for those experiencing homelessness to feel taken care of. To feel loved. It’s a place where the lost and lonely can find connection and feel part of a family.

I saw this need for connection in the eyes of a women who joined us during this year’s Thanksgiving Outreach Meal. As she headed out the door after she’d finished eating, I saw her crying so I leaned down and asked what’s wrong? “I’m just so happy”, she said.

This feeling of human connection can extend far beyond a holiday meal. It is often the first step needed to begin the healing process.

In fact, one of our recent graduates, Nathaniel, first came to us during last year’s holiday meal. He was struggling with health issues and under great financial stress, which lead him to homelessness. When he showed up at our holiday meal, he explained:

“I’m crutching around the dining room tables, looking for a place to sit and I can’t fit down the aisles because there’s so many people. So, I find a seat at the end of the table and a man named Phil comes over to me – he was very kind – he takes my crutches and moves them for me, and then serves me like I’m at a restaurant. And when he brings my food, he asks how I’m recovering and what my story is. He was genuinely concerned so I told him my whole story.”

Christmas Dinner for Homeless

James Pope, Vice President of Evangelism & Discipleship at San Diego Rescue Mission takes time to connect + listen to a guest’s story during last year’s Christmas meal.

The connection they made that day inspired Nathaniel to join Phil’s church. Phil and other members of his church began to mentor Nathaniel and have continued to walk with him as he’s worked on his program.

Nathaniel has not only had an amazing recovery and is walking again, but this October, he graduated from our year long recovery program. Thanks to the encounter he had at our Thanksgiving Meal he’s developed an incredible support network of friends and mentors at his local church that will continue to walk with him in life.

We were created for connection. A loving, supportive relationship can literally be a matter of life and death.

By the time San Diego’s homeless men and women walk through our doors, they have exhausted all relationships and resources. They need to regain a sense of connection as much as they need a meal and safe shelter. And that sense of connection starts with Jesus.

So this holiday, and into the new year, I invite you to focus on connection. Strengthening connections to those around you, those who need you, and to Jesus.

Thank you for your continued support in helping us lovingly address the needs of those experiencing homelessness in San Diego. We wish you a grateful and joyful Holiday Season!

God Bless,

 

Donnie Dee

Christmas

 

Terry was sleeping in her car before San Diego Rescue Mission.

There are hundreds of people in San Diego County just like Terry. 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.

A meal at Christmas is only $2.05. Give now to bless hungry, homeless neighbors with the most wonderful Christmas gifts: food, shelter, help… and the opportunity in our care to experience God’s love that heals hurting lives.

Share your Christmas joy by sharing a generous gift now!

 

 

Giving Tuesday

Your #GivingTuesday gift is an opportunity to share the blessings of food, safe shelter and much more with men, women and children in our care here at San Diego Rescue Mission.

A hot meal for just $2.05 will feed hungry and homeless people from our community. A night of shelter is only $38.22.

Give all this and more by giving your #GivingTuesday gift now!

Give back on this special day! Make your #GivingTuesday gift and bless others right here in San Diego County… today, tomorrow and into 2019.

 

 

 

Give thanks. Give back.

38,600 meals by Thanksgiving. That’s our goal – and our community’s challenge! – this month.

As you give thanks this holiday, will you also give back? Share a gift today to help feed even more hungry people in San Diego this season!

Each $2.05 meal you provide is SO MUCH MORE than a plate of food. It’s an opportunity for people to transform 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 sharing a special Thanksgiving gift today.

 

 

 

Staff Spotlight: Priscilla Tapia

Priscilla Tapia, lead teacher at San Diego Rescue Mission’s Children’s Center.

“I realized there were so many ways I could make an impact in my community. Most importantly, I could apply my skills, experience and knowledge to be a light of support and a tool to help families understand, accept and overcome obstacles and hardships.” — Priscilla Tapia, lead teacher at San Diego Rescue Mission’s Children’s Center.

Meet Priscilla Tapia, a lead teacher at San Diego Rescue Mission’s Haven of Hope, a licensed Preschool for 2-5-year-olds experiencing homelessness. Her work here began in March 2016, when a dear friend and former Rescue Mission staff member recommended her for a job opening.

Priscilla discovered her passion for working with children while studying Child and Family Development at San Diego State University. “I had an opportunity to work in different classroom settings and programs with a wide range of ages and populations. I knew I wanted to work with children in some capacity.”

Prior to the Rescue Mission, she held an internship at a Recovery Center that provided resources, support and services to children and families experiencing domestic violence, child abuse, homelessness and drug + alcohol abuse. That was the first time she saw behavioral challenges in a therapeutic setting and realized the effects of environmental stimuli on children’s development. It was an “aha” moment in her career.

“I realized there were so many ways I could make an impact in my community. Most importantly, I could apply my skills, experience and knowledge to be a light of support and a tool to help families understand, accept and overcome obstacles and hardships. This experience led me to apply, and see where God could lead me, here at the Mission.”

Her preschool classroom is a play-based and child-centered environment where the focus is on providing a safe and nurturing space for children to play, explore, learn, and connect with each other and themselves. Their social-emotional development is a top priority because many have experienced trauma. Among the ways that staff support students are mentoring, role playing, mediation, guiding words and behavior, problem solving, as well as encouraging healthy and safe emotional expression. In many cases, the preschool is the first-time children enjoy the space to rest and sleep in a peaceful environment and have the nutrition their bodies require.

“Our entire center and mission is based on our faith, admiration and love for Jesus. Seeing children praise God through songs as they sing how much Jesus loves them gives them empowerment and a sense of belonging, peace and purpose. He is the centerpiece.”

As someone who’s service-oriented and generous of spirit, Priscilla loves much about her work. Among the highlights, she reflects that the most fulfilling experience is when she can see a child smile, how far they’ve come with others and witness their overall growth.

San Diego Rescue Mission Preschool

In many cases, the preschool is the first-time children enjoy the space to rest and sleep in a peaceful environment and have the nutrition their bodies require.

“Just giving the children a safe space, and the notion that they can make decisions and discover the world with what they have to offer during this beautiful stage in their life, is an impact we’re all making every day.”

Priscilla says she is also thankful for the opportunity to grow in her faith and apply it in ways she hadn’t before—or could even imagine. “I work with the most supportive, goal-oriented, intelligent, wise, loving and professional staff and it makes coming here every day even more fun and fulfilling. I feel ready for what the day may bring. I’m being challenged daily but I’m also gaining skills and adapting to situations and responding to them.”

“These children are our future and it’s during this time that we can make the most impact while providing positive experiences, facilitating learning opportunities, forming strong and genuine relationships with them and aiding them in their attainment of significant life skills. We’re constantly posting the children’s artwork in the hallways for staff, parents and the many tours during the week—so please visit and see what the preschool’s been working on! I only hope that I’m giving as much as I’m gaining from working here at the SDRM Children’s Center. I’m proud of where I work and who I work with every day.”

 

“Best Turkey Ever” Recipe

$2.05 feeds one hungry person. Imagine all the good you can do.

No one should be left out of the Thanksgiving celebration. Your compassionate gift today will welcome hungry and homeless San Diego neighbors to our tables for a complete turkey dinner, just like mom used to make.

As a special thanks for your support, I hope you’ll enjoy a turkey prepared from our “Best Turkey Ever” recipe. Your family is sure to love it as much as our Rescue Mission family does.

Please give generously to help as many people as possible – and to bless them with a Thanksgiving celebration they won’t soon forget.

 

 

 

Let’s Work Together to Teach the Next Generation about Community Issues

Sleepless San DiegoAlthough San Diego Rescue Mission has been hosting Sleepless San Diego for years, this will be my first experience. I am excited to see this year’s turn-out, as the concept of an event like this really resonates with me. It’s a reminder to teach our youth about community issues and show how they can make an impact in a cause they care about.

During this year’s Sleepless, we’re not only teaching about our cause, but encouraging action through service. In fact, in addition to setting up personal fundraising pages,  hundreds of kids have already signed up for one of our nine service sites around San Diego to clean, paint and fix up our community.

At the end of the service day, participants are invited to sleep out at Liberty Station for an evening of inspirational performances including our headlining speaker Tonier “Neen” Cain. Tonier spent 20 years living on the streets, homeless. Her life was filled with brutality, incarceration, hunger and substance abuse until she learned how to turn her life around. I first met Tonier at our national AGRM conference and I look forward to seeing her again as she shares her inspiring journey of hope with everyone attending this year’s Sleepless San Diego.

Sleepless San DiegoMany of our current clients will also be attending this year’s Sleepless serving as volunteers and helping to set up and break down the event. This is a great opportunity for our clients to see first-hand that there is a community who truly cares about them and is willing to help those who are ready to make positive life changes.

Our staff, volunteers, clients, performers and participants are all working hard to make sure this year’s Sleepless is a huge success. And I am equally grateful for our generous corporate sponsors for helping cover all of our operational costs associated with throwing an event of this size.

If you can’t attend this year’s Sleepless San Diego, I encourage you to support one of the individuals or youth groups who have created fundraising pages for the event at https://www.classy.org/event/sleepless-san-diego-2018/e181526

Together, we can encourage our community’s youth to have a passion, find a cause, take action and to make the world a better place.

 

God Bless,

Donnie Dee

Donnie Dee

 

Share Your Blessings

77,200 meals. In just 60 days.

We can’t do it without you!

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

Help now. Share a gift. Share your blessings with hungry 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!

 

 

 

Christmas Outreach Meal – December 15, 2018

christmasJoin us on December 15, 2018 for our special Christmas Outreach Meal.

This is one of three times in the year when San Diego Rescue Mission opens its doors to the homeless community to celebrate the holidays. Gather to enjoy home-cooked meals, entertainment, and to celebrate in the festivities!