This past weekend, San Diego Rescue Mission held the Sleepless San Diego event in Liberty Station to raise awareness about the homeless living in San Diego. The purpose of the event is to bring San Diego together to better understand, serve and impact those experiencing homelessness.
During the day, participants filed into the event to listen to inspirational speakers, music performances and play games. At night, over 200 people slept over at the event on cots out of respect to the homeless and to get a sense of what it’s like to sleep out as a homeless person. Hundreds of people took an evening to change perception, encourage action and advocate for the least and lost in our community.
The event provided stations for participants to create hygiene kits filled with socks, water, food and information on how to contact the rescue mission and where to find the mission. Through the service day, the participants made 500 hygiene kits and 100 fleece blankets, according to the San Diego Rescue Mission.
The San Diego Rescue Mission reports that they raised over $150,000 through sponsors and fundraising, about $30,000 of which was raised by peer-to-peer fundraising.
Cameron Kruger, a staff member at the San Diego Rescue Mission, says, “Sleepless’ mission is to change the perception on homelessness. We want to help people understand that people experiencing homelessness have a story and to engage our community with those stories,” Kruger says. “They are often given a set of cards that can lead them to being homeless and it’s up to our community and organization to step up and bring them compassion through action and advocacy.”
Action and advocacy for homelessness are things the San Diego Rescue Mission takes passionately. “Action and advocacy simply looks like changing perceptions in our own hearts and mind to step into a more open and empathetic outlook,” Kruger says, “We need to recognize the homeless as humans when we see them. It’s as simple as giving them eye contact, saying ‘hello,’ learning their name and listening to their story.”
Non-profit benefit organizations like the San Diego Rescue Mission help homeless people get off the streets and into educational programs to help them out of their situations. The San Diego Rescue Mission offers programs such as therapy, job training, transitional housing, preschool for 22 homeless children, emergency overnight shelter for up to 60 women and children every night, according to Kruger.
“The Rescue Mission also offers a 12-month residential rehabilitation program that provides men and women with the tools, training, and spiritual foundation to transform their lives,” Kruger says. “This program addresses each client’s need case-by-case, giving each individual a chance at a better life. These long-term programs can house up to 180 men, 42 women, and up to 30 kids at max capacity.”
The San Diego Rescue Mission has partnered with the athletics program at Point Loma Nazarene University — SAAC — and encourages all students to come to future events and are looking forward to next year’s Sleepless San Diego. This year, 10 student-athletes from our school stepped up and volunteered at the Sleepless San Diego event, playing games and running activities for others.
The San Diego Rescue Mission has congregate meals where volunteers come on holidays to serve and welcome 1,000s of homeless off the street to a warm meal, providing a great opportunity to engage the homeless during the upcoming holidays.
If you want to get involved with the San Diego Rescue Mission visit their website at: www.sdrescue.org or call at: (619) 687-3720.