Photos + Stories from our Annual Holiday Meals

Holiday Meals VolunteersI love looking at old photos.

The ones I’ve included in this blog post are some of our best memories from our annual holiday meals. These are truly wonderful reminders of all the great work you’ve made possible here at San Diego Rescue Mission during the past year.

If you volunteer, you may find yourself in one of these pictures! Dedicated groups and individuals, churches, schools, companies and families donated more than 25,477 hours of their time to make life better for homeless men, women and children.

Holiday Meals VolunteersGenerous donors fed those who were hungry and provided warm beds for those who were homeless by sponsoring nearly 500,000 meals and 142,000 nights of shelter.

Together, we’ve rescued hundreds of homeless men, women and children from the streets each day. Fed, clothed and sheltered them, healed them physically and spiritually. We’ve changed their lives and given them hope!

This Saturday, we expect to serve more than 1500 hungry and homeless men, women, and children at our annual Christmas Dinner.

During each holiday banquet open to the homeless, we have some of our clients volunteer to be table hosts to sit amongst our guests and be a friendly face, and to tell them about our programs.

These table hosts submit feedback after the meal that is powerful.

Here are some comments I’ve received from our hosts after our recent Thanksgiving meal:

  • RosaHumbling. I just want to hug them all. They all seem so happy with just a little bit… I appreciate what God has given me so much more.
  • This experience is just a blessing. I never thought I’ll be table hosting for a homeless shelter. I just thank my Lord and Savior Christ Jesus.
  • That I need nothing other than what I have. God may I never forget this is all I will ever have and ever need.
  • As I see the people come in it fills me up with emotion. To see the kindness still exist in society. Thank God for the Rescue Mission my gratitude is unexplainable of how they have helped me change from my behavior to my relationship with God. How He has saved me from my troubles. This experience to be able to reach out to those in need and share of the mercy of Jesus our Lord is always going to stay in my heart. The generosity the Mission spreads and the look at the children’s faces priceless. Thank you San Diego Rescue Mission and Herb Johnson.
  • Holiday MealsI am overwhelmed with the dinner experience, as server here at the Rescue Mission. Meeting and greeting the public and hearing their stories of thanks and blessing lets one know that they do appreciate every and all for Thanksgiving.
  • I am very grateful that God has blessed me today. I got to share my experience with people just like me and tell then now god has changed my life through the San Diego Rescue Mission. My heart has been broken today by God and has shown me that no matter what He is and will always be.
  • I am 34 years old I have been blessed with yet another confirmation that this is where I am supposed to be. With my 23 days clean and sober and walking with God. The first women I met at this dinner coincidentally has 23 years clean today and although she is homeless has not chosen to pick up for this revelation to me that God is good.
  • The Thanksgiving congregate meal is a bittersweet experience for me. I loved meeting with all these people and sharing with them God’s love. Letting them know that they mattered and how the Rescue Mission has helped me. The sad part was hearing some of their stories. It made my heart ache inside and I wanted to cry. I know that all I can do right now is listen and pray and with God that is enough.
  • Holiday MealsThis experience is truly a blessing I feel a lot of joy and peace about this event. This event is truly humbling. This event I believe is the beginning of a wonderful change in my life and my attitude about other people. They were truly a blessing in disguise to me personally. I truly felt a whole lot of love form those who sat at my table and there was a harmony all around me. To God be the glory.
  • I am grateful that the Lord has blessed me with the ability to give back. I am grateful to see my brothers volunteer with me and to see the smiles on their faces. When they start a conversation with someone they has never met. I am happy to see people that are less fortunate smile as they eat. It also makes me happy to hear them say that the food tastes amazing. Today has been a great day.
  • I am happy to be a part of this experience. It is a blessing to see the smiles on their faces and moving to the music as they enjoy their Thanksgiving dinner here. I was able to talk to some of them and give them a few words of encouragement to help lift up their spirits. I am thankful for what God has done for me because once upon a time I was their shoes.

Thank you to all of our donors, volunteers and everyone else who has helped the Mission this year. Because of you, we are able to you provide these life transforming services.

God bless you for your compassion and generosity!
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Herb Johnson
President/CEO