No longer a Soup Kitchen… San Diego Rescue Mission further expands critical, life-saving Programs to San Diegans in Need.

Thank you to everyone who joined us at Le Dimora last month to kick off our 60th Anniversary year of saving lives! In case you missed it, below is a transcription of Herb Johnson’s presentation sharing news of expansion projects and how you can help further fund these critical programs.

Children's Center for homeless

Our new Children’s Center keeps preschool-aged kids off the street, and gives them the attention they need to succeed.

“First, I’d like to talk about our plans for the new Children’s Center. The mission of the Children’s Center is to get more children off the streets and give them the attention they need to succeed. We will expand this program by adding more children into our program. You heard me talk about a four-to-one ratio; I think we’re down to three-to-one now. It’s amazing the amount of bodies we’ve had to put in there. It cost us way more money than we ever expected. Younger children can now be in school where they learn to be integrated and to network with other children, while the moms can get parenting skills, counseling, education, and support.

This year, we also need a more age appropriate playground. The playground that was built for the Center was built for ten year olds- and that playground we built cost us half million dollars to put in. So we’ve got to retrofit. We’ve got the design work. We’ve got a wonderful design engineer with us, John Pyjar, who is doing all the work for free. But that’s another thing that’s going to cost us a lot of money and we have to fund that.

help for homeless mothers

We already have a transitional housing program for men. The next step is transitional housing for mothers with children.

Next, as most of you know, we already have transitional housing programs for single men and women. Our next step is transitional housing for mothers with children. It’s in our budget, but it’s not budgeted until September. And the demand is so high that we are trying to raising money (with the Children’s Initiative) to open it early. It’s cleaned up and ready to go, we just don’t have the money to staff it. Pray for us that we can get a spring or an early summer opening. All of those decisions are budgetary.

So let’s talk about some of our financial goals. If you look on our website you’ll find out that we’re a twenty million dollar engine. This is not a soup kitchen anymore; this is a major industry in San Diego. This year I’m going to raise- with the help of my wonderful staff – $1.2 million, in addition to the $20 million, and we’re going to do that by finding a ‘Circle of Sixty’ for our 60th year anniversary. Each one of those individuals are going to give us someplace between $10,000 and $25,000 dollars. On the initial pledge, the minimum amount of $10,000 dollars for the ‘Children’s Initiative’ will give us $600,000. We already have donors lining up now that are going to match all of those gifts and give us a million, too. But I never do things in a small way, ask anybody.  My goal was closer to $2 million, and we already have twelve donors who have signed up.

What’s next?  Starting this year on the last Tuesday of every month I’m going to be doing ‘Board Room Breakfasts’ for folks like you to come in, talk to us about what’s going on in the business.  It’ll last about an hour or so, we’ll give you a great tour, and as usual for the Mission we’ll feed you really well.
Part of the 60th celebration is two other big programs, which by the way, we’ve already hired all of the people necessary to put on.

original san diego rescue mission

The Card Room where we served our first meal to San Diego’s homeless 60 years ago – and inspiration for this year’s Casino Royal themed 60th Anniversary Celebration happening August 8, 2015.

So let me tell you about this first event we’re going to do.  It’s August 8th at the San Diego Yacht Club, and we’re going to have a ‘Casino Royale’. So you’re saying, ‘Gambling and the San Diego Rescue Mission!  What’s up with that?’ Well, the original San Diego Rescue Mission was in a card room in east San Diego. That’s where we started.  That’s why we’re doing the Casino Royale.  We’re going to have the best event!  We’re going to take over the San Diego Yacht Club (except for the owner’s area)  and it’s going to be the best thing that happens there this year, don’t miss it!

Our 60th Anniversary celebration is not going to include a gala.  Everybody else gives galas, and I’ve been to a half dozen of them in the last six months, and by eight o’clock everybody is yawning and ready to go.  Well, Ray McKewon is going to provide the music, and it’s going to be an unbelievable event, I guarantee it. Get your tickets early on this one. It will be held at the Sheraton San Diego Hotel + Marina on November 7th, and let me tell you, this is an event you don’t want to miss!

On behalf of the 130 staff (130 unbelievable staff!) we thank you so much for your continued support, and helping to make this 60th Anniversary year one to remember!”