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In the News

Published articles and news stories of the
happenings at Rescue Mission Alliance.

In The News...

Showing warmth to those in need
Article from the Daily Press - Published January 10, 2014 

As evening temperatures continue to drop in the High Desert, one nonprofit agency is seeking help to keep the homeless warm.

Susan Conway, chair of Victor Valley Rescue Mission, said the group’s warming shelter at the High Desert Event Center (the former San Bernardino County Fairgrounds) is in need of a mobile storage area.

The nonprofit has been given permission from Event Center officials to use the center’s facilities to provide shelter when the weather drops below 32 degrees.

“We had an immediate drop of weather the other day and could not open the shelter because we had no access to our supplies,” Conway said. “Our guests struggled through the night in the bitter cold.”

The shelter — which was open for 19 nights in November — is opened based on the AccuWeather forecast.

Conway said the mission would like to borrow an enclosed trailer for the season. It would be stationed at the Event Center to store cots, blankets, food, hygiene products and other items needed to help those seeking warmth.

“The Victor Valley Rescue Mission has one enclosed trailer at this time, (but) we use it daily for our food pantries throughout the community,” Conway said. “We are willing to come pick up the enclosed trailer and will keep it in safe storage at the (Event Center) during the cold weather.”

Since the shelter’s opening last January, an average of 50 people have used the shelter each night, with visitors as young as 6 years old taking advantage of the free shelter.

“We have a great working relationship with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department and the local hospitals, so many of our families have been brought in by deputies or hospital staff,” Conway said. “You know the High Desert; it will be warm at Christmas and freezing at Easter. We just need to be ready to keep our people warm.”

For a printable PDF version of this article, CLICK HERE.

Three Foundation Grants Equals One New Truck

Donations will keep rolling in, thanks to local foundation generosity.

February 2014 - Central Coast Rescue Mission had a big problem, they needed to pick up donations from individuals and community groups in order to keep their thrift store and outreach service running smoothly. And, their old box truck was no longer up for the job. They needed a new box truck, so the call went out to some of their generous supporting foundations to ask for funding.

Three local charitable foundations answered the call.  

The Mark and Dorothy Smith Family Foundation stepped forward in December with the first grant of $15,000. The Edwin & Jeanne Woods Family Foundation provided the second $15,000 needed for a box truck, as well as an additional $5,000 for a new commercial washer and dryer and for program expenses. The Berakah Foundation had promised to give the final $15,000 once the rest of the needed funds had been raised. They fulfilled their promise and the mission is now in the process of buying the new box truck.

“This is a testimony to the commitment and concern our local charitable foundations have to support the poor and homeless in our community,” says Larry Cooney, Director of the mission. “It is truly an honor to work with these foundations. We are so grateful for our partnership with the each one of them. They have made a tremendous difference in the lives of so many hurting people through their generosity and faithful support.”

The mission provides services to the poor and homeless that includes a meals outreach and food pantry. The mission also provides the only residential drug and alcohol recovery program available in Santa Maria for men. Revenue from the mission’s thrift store provide a portion of the mission’s financial needs.

2014 Recipient of the Community Award of Excellence


The Greater San Fernando Valley Chamber of Commerce announced that the San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission was selected the 2014 recipient of the Community Award of Excellence. This prestigious award was presented at the Chamber's Casino Royale - the 102nd Inaugural Ball on Friday, June 6 at Galpin Aston Martin in Van Nuys.

The Community Award of Excellence recognizes the Chamber Member that has devoted time and energy to the community in a meaningful way and has been involved in programs and projects aimed at assisting the community-at-large.

"The San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission's dedication to being responsible stewards to the San Fernando Valley by being actively involved in the community truly makes the Valley a better place to live, work, play and shop" said  Dr. Barry Leonard, Chairman of the Board.

Special Delivery...

Published in the Ventura County Star - Wednesday, February 19, 2014 

Flory Academy student Joy Watson handed a red teddy bear to Maria Aguirre, 2, on Valentine’s Day inside the Ventura County Rescue Mission in Oxnard.

Joy, 9, didn’t know what kind of reaction she would get, but the toddler’s smile said it all.

It was one of many smiles as elementary and middle school students from Moorpark delivered about 300 stuffed animals to children in need at the Oxnard mission and the Union Rescue Mission in Los Angeles.

The stuffed animals were delivered Friday in Oxnard during the mission’s Valentine’s Day dinner, which also included youths from Thousand Oaks volunteering to serve the meal.

The new and gently used stuffed animals were collected by students at Flory during a drive at the school.

Dinners are distributed to members of the community during a Valentine’s Day dinner at the Ventura County Rescue Mission in Oxnard. In addition to the dinner, children received stuffed animals collected by students of Flory Academy in Moorpark.

Joy’s mother Kim Watson, a parent volunteer, coordinated the effort as a project for Brooks & Brooks Foundation, a Woodland Hills nonprofit that focuses on youth service work. The idea for collecting stuffed animals came about when Watson was with her daughter Joy at a Target store and saw a mother with her children carrying a sign asking for help. “Joy wanted to do something for the family, and she asked if we could give them a teddy bear,” Watson said.

The mother and daughter went to the school’s PTA and suggested the teddy bear drive. Kim Watson hoped for at least 100 stuffed animals to be collected, but the school ended up collecting more than 300. 

Rhiannon Pereira from Flory Academy in Moorpark carries some of the stuffed animals into the Ventura County Rescue Mission. She later helped distribute them to kids. “The goal is for kids to think about other kids and to make a difference,” Watson said.

Suzanne West, community relations coordinator for the Ventura County Rescue Mission, welcomed the idea of delivering the stuffed animals to the children, who were eating dinner with their families.

The dinner was open to all families, and the mission was expecting several hundred people for the meal made by culinary arts students.

Joy joined Moorpark students Liam, Rhiannon, Ethan and Addison Pereira at the Oxnard mission in delivering the stuffed animals. The Pereira siblings also were joined by their mother, Ann Pereira, who passed out goody bags and carnations donated by Stuart Baker from Gold Coast Church.

“This is very nice what they’re doing for the children. They are so appreciative,” said Vickie Patino, of Oxnard, who ate dinner at the mission with her grandkids Alina Gonzalez, 3, and Isaac Dearcon, 9.

Elandro Rojas, 8, hugged his new toy snake while Cindy Valerio, 8, sat with her new Minnie Mouse stuffed animal as she ate pumpkin cheesecake.

Sierra Waters and Kate Gullett, both 14, were among 10 volunteers from Christian Church of Thousand Oaks who helped serve dinner.

“It’s nice that the community came together to do this. It makes people here feel that other people do care about them,” said Javier Gaona, of Ventura, a volunteer.