Rescue Mission Honors its ‘Mosaic’ of Supporters at Anniversary Dinner in Apple Valley
The Victor Valley Rescue Mission honored its “mosaic” of donors, volunteers and staff, during the nonprofit’s 11th Annual Appreciation Banquet on Thursday at Church of the Valley.
The mosaic-themed dinner was also a celebration of the VVRM’s 20th anniversary and was attended by city, town, state, county and local leaders.
Victorville Mayor Gloria Garcia held back tears as she thanked VVRM Director Bill Edwards, his team and a room of nearly 400 individuals who support the nonprofit based in her city.
During dinner, Edwards revealed a recently printed mosaic that depicts the hands of a homeless man holding a Bible that is turned to First Peter, chapter four.
The mosaic was created by former Daily Press photographer James Quigg and photographer Jose Huerta, who used photos of banquet guests who had arrived earlier in the evening.
“This photo is a physical manifestation of the people in this room” who have provided financial support for meals, a roof over someone’s head, clothes, volunteer hours “and so much more,” said Edwards, who has worked at the nonprofit for 10 years.
Last year, VVRM’s emergency food pantry and warming shelter handed out 8,355 food boxes, served 39,343 hot meals and provided 5,783 combined nights of shelter for individuals and families.
Just before school began this year, the rescue mission partnered with Impact Church and Desert Mountain Children’s Center for a “Back to School” outreach where they provided 2,100 backpacks, a mountain of school supplies, clothing and a free lunch.
Last year, the VVRM worked with 58 partner agencies in the High Desert Food Collaborative to serve 256,422 individuals.
During Thanksgiving, the rescue mission served over 2,000 people and gave away 300 turkey baskets. During Christmas, the nonprofit gave away bicycles and thousands of toys during the group’s annual holiday party. In 2019, the rescue mission and 18 other agencies ministered to 1,600 individuals during the VVRM’s Easter Egg-Stravanganza.
Rivets Roberts, who oversees the “Showers of Blessing” mobile shower trailer program, related how the new trailer has helped those living on the streets, the fields and back alleys of the High Desert.
“It was a joy to see these smiling faces as they came out of the shower units all warm and clean,” said Roberts. “These people come out feeling like a whole new person. Thank you all.”
When VVRM sought funding to purchase the mobile shower trailer, Redeemer Church of Apple Valley stepped up to the plate and offered to pay for half the cost, Edwards said.
Victor Valley Rescue Mission’s Edwards said each individual and ministry program within the VVRM is a small piece that makes up the bigger picture, a mosaic that is called, “The Victor Valley Rescue Mission.”
As guests enjoyed dinner prepared and served by students of Granite High School’s Cougar Kitchen, a video was shown that included a few words by VVRM co-founder Penny Heflebower, former VVRM Director Ron Wilson and Life Recovery Program Manager John Schmitt.
During the event, Life Recovery Program Assistant Kenne Miller interviewed program student Gerard Coleman and graduate Mike Meyer.
Meyer said when he was living on the streets or in a horse shed in Oro Grande, lost and “clueless” about his direction in life. He said that VVRM was a “compass” that eventually helped him to find “Jesus,” who came into his heart and changed his life.
“If it wasn’t for you guys, I’d still be lost and living on the streets,” said Meyer, before taking out his camera phone and snapping several photos of the audience.
Before Meyer left the stage, emcee Chris Nunez revealed that it was Meyer’s birthday and asked the audience to sing Happy Birthday.
Last year, the Life Recovery Program for men saw four graduates, 32 receiving vocational training, 14 finding stable housing and the participants putting in 20,342 volunteer hours.
The Life Recovery Program offers addiction recovery, biblical counseling vocational training, transitional housing and a computer learning center for men. The transitional housing program helps graduates find and maintain stable employment, save money toward a permanent residence and continue the long road of recovery.
The VVRM became part of the Rescue Mission Alliance in 2008. The nonprofit provides homeless men with opportunities for spiritual and physical recovery. It’s outreach services include hot meals, clothing, blankets, hygiene kits, food pantry, and a direct link between hospitals, clinics, and other health-related and community-based services.