Director’s Note

chris rutledge

Chris Rutledge is the director of Rescue Mission
Alliance Central Coast.

A year for new Mission holiday traditions

It’s Christmastime, and at the Mission that means large events, and our best efforts at sharing the hope of Jesus during this season. In past years, we’ve held a banquet and opened it to the community. The incredible folks at Rescue Mission Alliance Ventura County would cook the meal, and our superb volunteers would serve it at the Vet’s Hall.

This year, we started a new tradition. While God used the banquet to do some incredible things, it didn’t do a great job at connecting our guests to consistent services. The events were twice a year, and often we wouldn’t see these guests until the following holiday season. With the goal of building strong relationships with our guests, we shifted our focus to smaller events.

You may be familiar with two of our weekly outreaches. Tuesday afternoons we partner with Cornerstone Church to provide showers, clothing and a meal to men and women experiencing homelessness. Thursday evenings we partner with Santa Maria Foursquare Church to provide groceries to very low-income families.

On Nov. 14, we provided our usual showers and clothing to our guests, but we saw a higher-than-usual attendance. We provided shoes, backpacks with hygiene items, a warm meal, and conversation to men and women experiencing homelessness. More than that, we invited them back next Tuesday. We invited them to church that Sunday. We sat and shared a meal together. We look forward to doing the same on Dec. 12.

The incredible thing about this outreach, is we encounter people who are starving for connection, and offer them acceptance. Guests gave their lives to Christ that day, and learned we want to help them get to their next step in recovery.

On Nov. 16, we provided grocery boxes to over 250 very low-income families to cook a holiday meal at home. While the box contained the usual turkey, mashed potatoes, veggies and dessert, we provided other ingredients like fresh corn tortillas and black beans. This gave our guests the opportunity to stock their pantry a bit, or make a meal that’s more traditional for their family and heritage.

Our guests also participated in a resource fair, where we partnered with local agencies who specialize in valuable resources. This event will also be repeated on Dec. 14. At these events we were able to connect our guests with access to employment, housing, legal and childcare services. Most importantly, our partners at Santa Maria Foursquare Church let our guests know they have a refuge to worship on Sundays.

At Rescue Mission Alliance Central Coast, our primary goal is to build relationships in the community. We don’t want to provide one meal, or a single change of clothes. We want to journey with someone on their road to recovery. That’s really what our outreaches are all about, whether they are for Thanksgiving or Christmas or the other 363 days of the year.

We’re grateful for our supporters who make this type of ministry possible. We love this community, and are excited for another year to build relationships and see transformation in the lives of those who need help the most.

Blessings, Chris Rutledge, Director