LOS ANGELES One of the largest rescue missions in the United States served Thanksgiving meals on Saturday to more than 5,000 poor and homeless local inhabitants in Los Angeles.
The Union Rescue Mission (URM), the oldest organization of its kind in Los Angeles, kicked-off the holiday season with the help of 800-900 volunteers by hosting a Louisiana-Style Thanksgiving street festival, while guests enjoy live gospel bands, a mini-petting zoo, and other activities.
We feel it is important to those struggling with homelessness and extreme poverty to have an opportunity to celebrate the holiday with a festive event, good food and fun, said Andy Bales, URM president, in a statement. URM has been bringing people together for 114 years and plans to continue as long as there is a need to bring hope and healing to the Los Angeles community. An event like this brings hope for a better future to those who feel they have been forgotten.
The event featured gospel groups such as Gospel One and Brothers in Christ, the URM worship team, who sang traditional and original praise songs as guests enjoyed their meals and activities. In addition, Brothers in Christ encouraged attendees to join the URM recovery program, called Christian Life Discipleship program, a 12-18 month program that helps broken men and women rebuild a positive life and end homelessness by incorporating Biblical principles. All members from Brothers in Christ are graduates or alumni of the program.
Life is very tough for so many people in our community, especially the children, said Liz Mooradian, director of communications for URM. Taking a few hours to socialize, eat and play makes a world of difference for those who are struggling to pick themselves up and start over. Sometimes by hosting a party and knowing that hundreds of volunteers care enough to come and serve, brings hope for a better future to those who feel they are forgotten.
The Union Rescue Mission, established in 1891, is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving the poor and homeless. It provides a comprehensive array of emergency and long-term services, including food, shelter, clothing, medical, and dental care, Christian recovery programs, transitional housing, legal assistance, education, counseling, and job training to needy men, women, children and families.
Throughout this week, other missions groups will be also be hosting Thanksgiving meals including LA Missions and Midnight Missions.