Mission Event

This photo captures a Mission outreach event from several years ago.

Growing up in the Western United States my whole life, I’ve learned a deep respect for those who pioneered the West. Every time I drive south on the 101, south of Los Alamos, I become overwhelmed by the landscape. I think about how blessed we are to have well-maintained roads that cut through the beautiful expanse. I think about those people who first settled this land and began to cultivate it.

I realize some of the history of the Central Coast is tarnished due to some egregious mistakes made. But their unfathomable goal was to create a community where people thrived. They built something we benefit from every day.

Similarly, the Rescue Mission is blessed by those who came before us. Like most rescue missions, Central Coast Rescue Mission was established by an unpaid team of community leaders. The mission didn’t thrive through the effort of any one person who was particularly educated, wealthy, or hard-working. It thrived because many people, with many talents, were motivated by the edict of Jesus that no one is unworthy of being loved. They accomplished this via two goals: feeding people, and sharing the Gospel.

I can say confidently that during those early days, a hot meal lovingly cooked and served by someone mixed with conversation while eating that meal resulted in transformed lives. I’m certain those pioneers were accomplishing their goals.

The Mission has come a long way since then. We remember our roots: feeding people and teaching about Jesus. And just like those original dirt trails in the Central Coast’s infancy were transformed into concrete highways, the way we battle homelessness in our community looks much different.

We’ve learned a lot about the root causes of addiction and homelessness, and rescue mission staff have been trained to address those root causes. For instance, some donors or volunteers might not know that homelessness is caused by a profound and complete breakdown in family structure. Our trained counselors go through intricate and difficult counseling to help our residents identify when that breakdown occurred. Staff and volunteers help reintegrate residents into society. Local business owners, who also happen to be volunteers and donors, employ residents and give them the opportunity to work in a healthy workplace.


Our counselors help program residents better understand their brain chemistry so they can be in control of their decisions. Did you know most chemical addictions involve the release of huge levels of a neurological chemical called dopamine? Our residents know they can increase their brain’s natural release of dopamine by eating certain foods like almonds, avocados, bananas, or sesame seeds. Did you know some things deplete dopamine like stress, poor nutrition, poor sleep, or consuming alcohol, sugar and caffeine? Our residents do! We offer a safe and Christ-centered environment, where residents can make healthy, long-term decisions using knowledge like this.

Today in our community, the number of people suffering from the effects of homelessness, addiction and poverty has grown exponentially from when the Mission was established. The task feels daunting, as I’m sure it did to our pioneers. Thanks to our donors, volunteers and community partners who trust us to serve in this role today, and most importantly, the edict from Jesus to love the unlovable, we feel up to the task. We will continue to pioneer what it looks like to change lives for good.


Chris Rutledge