- Mike Dunbar
- Media Advisor
- (209) 404-5569
(Sacramento) – When the Merced County Rescue Mission was formed in 1991, the needs of the homeless and those battling addiction were enormous. Now, in the midst of a global pandemic, those needs are even greater, so the Recuse Mission is doing even more to address them.
Assemblyman Adam Gray (D-Merced) is proud to honor The Merced County Rescue Mission as the 2020 California Non-Profit of the Year for the 21st Assembly District.
Under the direction of Dr. Bruce Metcalf, and with the help of roughly 30 staff members and dozens of volunteers, the Rescue Mission has found food for the hungry, beds for the homeless and created hope for those who have been caught up in addiction.
The urgency of this work has intensified this year. Working with Merced County and other non-profits, the Rescue Mission delivers food to those in need, such as senior citizens. It also oversees Project Roomkey in Merced County, part of a statewide effort to find safe emergency housing for the homeless.
The Rescue Mission has created eight different “Hope” programs such as Hope for Families, Hope for Veterans and Bridge to Hope. Each is an effort to provide housing, counseling and help for those battling the diseases of despair.
In August, the community celebrated a virtual groundbreaking for the Rescue Mission’s new Merced campus. Using modified cargo containers, it will offer 32 Medical Respite beds for those recovering from medical procedures; 12 additional beds for men, 10 more for women and 13 new family units for women with children. Teachers will be invited to instruct clients on using computer programs to track their finances and prepare resumes. In the center’s kitchen, residents can learn commercial culinary skills.
The Rescue Mission also began working with Merced County to develop a navigation center where clients can find temporary housing, job counseling and three meals each day. Assemblyman Gray helped secure roughly $7.5 million in state funding for the center, which is expected to open by the end of 2020.
“This has been an incredible project,” said Assemblymember Gray during the center’s groundbreaking ceremony. “Homelessness is a moral issue that affects our public safety and our quality of life. The Rescue Mission is at the forefront of doing all we can to alleviate this crisis within our community.”
The Rescue Mission is at the forefront of battling addiction, poverty and despair – the conditions that too often push families and individuals into homelessness.
“You see them on the onramps, under the overpasses,” said Tim Adam, the Rescue Mission’s Chief Operating Officer. “They’re more visible now because they are getting moved around from campsite to campsite.”
Providing safe haven is essential, but so is changing how we view the homeless, said Tim Adam. “We can’t look at them just as somebody who is homeless. We’ve got to see them as an individual. … Catholic Charities, Sierra Saving Grace -- we’re all trying to help. The key is treating them like humans, not looking down on them.”
Last year, Assemblyman Gray honored the Merced County Spring Fair and in 2018 he honored the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program for children.
The California Non-Profit Day normally is marked by a celebration and luncheon at the State Capitol. With the prevalence of Covid-19, this year’s celebration will be virtual.