Tag archive for "Union Rescue Mission"

Thanksgiving Celebration

Los Angeles, Rescue Missions, video

Thanksgiving Celebration

No Comments 16 December 2011

This video is from our time spent at the Union Rescue Mission on Skid Row in LA during their Annual Thanksgiving Celebration.  It was an emotional day for everyone and one that we were grateful to be a part of.

Urban Desert

Inspiration, Los Angeles

Urban Desert

No Comments 14 January 2010

Man trying on a pair of shoes

Man trying on a pair of shoes

The 13.1 Marathon event in Los Angeles started out like any other – EARLY!  Me and my photographer friend, Gregg Shaw, got up at 4am and headed to the start area to get set up for the daily donations that would take place as runners came through the finish line. Thank goodness Starbucks backed right up to the booth we happened to be sharing with our friends from Team World Vision. (funny how God works, he knows exactly what you need and when you need it, Thanks big Guy!) So we got our coffee in us and waited for the fun to begin. The race started on time at 7:15 and 2 hours later we were elbows deep in collecting shoes and taking pictures.  Not only did I hope to gather as many shoes possible that would be going to the Union Rescue Mission but also hoped to gather some great photos to use on our site.  As the people trickled in and the race ended we ended up with some great pictures and 200 pairs!

Me with all the shoes from the 13.1 runners!

Me with all the shoes from the 13.1 runners!

This is where our day really gets exciting.  Gregg and I head to downtown LA in the skid row area to meet up with Rev. Andy Bales at the Union Rescue Mission.  Only problem is when I call to meet him there is no answer. We arrive to skid row about 10 minutes prior to our 2pm appointment and if you have never been to skid row, it’s not really the place you want to just “hang out”.  We “stood out” more than anything but stumbled upon some people that had set up a make shift food serving area on the sidewalk and we asked to join them.  They had been coming down here the past 10 years to serve food to people in need on the streets.  I asked if we could share the sidewalk and hand out some shoes since we had a truck load waiting to be delivered.

Before I go any further let me paint you a picture of what skid row is like.  It is as hopeless as any place can be. Despair, Addiction, Tragedy, Anger, Helplessness all fill the air. Trash litters the surroundings like confetti but you can bet there hasn’t been a parade down here in forever.  The sidewalks aren’t used for walking but sleeping.  Police?  Nowhere to be seen. People walking about as if in a science fiction movie called “The Last Days”.  It is an urban desert.  Barely any cars, only people. This place is a concrete coffin for many.

I call the Rescue Mission again and still no answer so Gregg and I decide to start dumping bags of shoes on the sidewalk.  It takes only seconds before people start to come around and pick through the pile. I meet John, who tells me that it’s hard to keep shoes because people steal your stuff and without having a place to put it makes it hard to keep safe.  I meet Paul who tells me that without shoes his feet hurt, everything hurts. I meet Lolnel who tells me having shoes will help him and his wife get around to try and find jobs and get from place to place for food.  Then I meet Stacy who tells me he is on his way back to real life. He’s looking to get a job, looking to finish a program, only there for a short time. I sure hope so Stacy. He tells me that for strangers to give them shoes is like giving him a chance to take a step in the next direction. Now if that doesn’t say it all…

Me with John

Me with John

It’s now 2:30 and my phone rings, it’s Rev. Andy, “Where are you, I am at the mission ready for you.”  I tell him we are one block over handing out shoes and will pack up and be right there.  We get there and sure enough he had been waiting for almost an hour for me.  I try to tell him I called and called but his phone never rang.  As we finish giving him all the shoes he realizes his ringer was off and had missed my calls.

If he would have answered my call at 1:50 we never would have experienced that 40 minutes handing out shoes.  We never would have had the conversations with the nice guys like Paul, Calvin, John and Lolnel.  (funny how God works, he always knows exactly what you need when you need it. Thanks Big Guy!)

Me with Rev. Andy Bales from Union Rescue Mission

Me with Rev. Andy Bales from Union Rescue Mission


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