For several years Grace Church has worked alongside
the Rescue Mission Alliance (RMA), a Christian nonprofit
organization based in Oxnard, California, that
has served the homeless community in the name of
Christ for more than forty years. During that time
the RMA has expanded to a number of satellite
locations, one of which is in our own backyard right
here in the San Fernando Valley.
The San Fernando Valley Rescue Mission began in
1998 as the Rescue Survival Outreach Services (SOS)
Program, which travels to six distinct areas of the
Valley each week with a mobile shower unit, hot
nutritious food, and clothing and hygiene items for
distribution. Each month, the Rescue SOS program
serves an average of 1,500 men, women, and
children and provides more than 1,500 meals, 1,400
items of clothing, 300 showers, and 400 hygiene kits.
In 2002, in response to the critical, unmet need for a
year-round emergency shelter, the Mission launched
their Family Shelter program in collaboration with
several San Fernando Valley area churches. At any
given time, nearly thirty beds are filled with men,
women, and children to give relief to the Valley’s
needy families. In addition to providing food, shelter,
and basic life necessities, the Mission also equips
these families with the skills necessary to obtain
employment and housing for themselves.
Amid all their programs, the San Fernando Valley
Rescue Mission also seeks to partner with local
churches to provide biblical instruction for the
families they serve. Members of our own church
family, including students from The Master’s
Seminary, have led Bible studies, offered biblical
counsel, and volunteered to help with meals as a
way of serving the Rescue Mission. We have also
donated clothing and hygiene items to the Mission,
which they sell in their thrift store as a means of
supporting the ministry.
On Saturday, May 3, this vital and important
ministry experienced a devastating loss. Early that
morning, a fire started on the adjacent property (a
wood pallet manufacturing company) and spread
over to the Rescue Mission. Thankfully, through
the sovereign protection of God, all of the families
who were staying in the shelter escaped without
injury and have since been moved to a temporary
location where the Mission can minister to them.
The property, however, was declared a total loss. The
fire destroyed the emergency shelter, the Mission’s
vehicle fleet, the clothing warehouse, and the food
pantry—all of which were essential in serving the
homeless people of our community.
We want to come alongside the Rescue Mission
and give our church family the opportunity to
serve them during this time of great need. To that
end, over the next two weeks we will be collecting
donations of clothing and hygiene products in
an effort to replenish the Mission’s supply. If you
would like to help, please bring gently used (or
new) items of clothing to church over the next two
Sundays. General hygiene products such as soap,
shampoo, toothbrushes and toothpaste, deodorant,
toilet paper, and even diapers are also welcome.
The Mission will have trucks in the main and north
parking lots to accept your donations.
The faithful servants at the San Fernando Valley
Rescue Mission have served Christ well in their
desire to minister compassion to those who are
often overlooked and forgotten in their time of need.
Now the Mission itself is facing a time of need. As
partners in the gospel and co-laborers with Christ,
our church desires that those who have faithfully
served others would not be overlooked or forgotten.
Please join us in meeting this very practical need.