In my 46 years of law enforcement service, I have often come into contact with society’s outcasts –– drunks, drug addicts, street people, prostitutes, vagrants, and petty criminals. For years, our approach was simply to arrest and incarcerate these people. Nail ‘em and jail ‘em, as the saying goes. The problem was that the same people kept coming back to the streets, and then getting sent back to jail. It was a seemingly endless cycle, but what else could we do? We discovered we needed partnerships, like our partnership with the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission. The Rescue Mission is what every community needs desperately –– a place where broken lives can be rebuilt.
– Bill Brown, Santa Barbara County Sheriff
Hopper was 9 when he discovered drugs and alcohol. By 13, he says he was already an alcoholic and addict. Eventually, he ended up angry and bitter on the streets. But we could tell that underneath the anger there was a man battling deeply damaging trauma who desperately needed God’s healing. So we were kind to Hopper every chance we got. And for 10 years, he survived on meals from the Mission — meals that friends like you provided.
Then, one day, when he decided he was finally ready to make a change, he knew we were the best place to come. So he came in, and we accepted him into our 12-month Residential Recovery Program. He graduated from our program in 2008, and in the past 15 years he hasn’t relapsed — not once. Today, he has an associates degree in drug and alcohol counseling, a place of his own, a car, a job, and a dog.
Now, he works as an advocate for the homeless community, steering people to the Mission when he can, being a loving presence and a voice for those who can’t stand up for themselves.
But where would Hopper be today if friends like you hadn’t made sure he had good meals to eat? Only God knows, but we have a feeling it wouldn’t be good.
Overcoming the trauma of hunger, homelessness, and addiction is hard. It’s painful. And it can’t be done alone.
But with the right support, the right treatment plan, the right tools, and a foundation of Jesus Christ, anyone can overcome addiction and homelessness. Hopper is proof.
It wasn’t until he finally surrendered and asked for help that his life began to change. The truth is, none of us get through the hardest parts of life alone.
We need each other. We need Jesus.
And those two things, community and Jesus, are what the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission is all about.
We can’t turn on the lights, open our doors, turn on the oven, feed people, or help them change their lives without the support of people like you.
The holiday season is our biggest time of the year. That means not only do we need more food, but we have more opportunities to build relationships, share God’s love, and help people experience lasting transformation. Will you be a part of it?
Santa Barbara Rescue Mission
535 E. Yanonali Street
Santa Barbara, CA 93103
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