Midnight Mission lends a hand this Thanksgiving

As we begin to celebrate the Holidays, and with Thanksgiving right around the corner, El Paisano wants to remind its readers about giving thanks and helping out those in need.

For this herculean task, El Paisano online and print Editor-and-Chiefs, reporters, and photographers spent a day at the Midnight Mission of Downtown Los Angeles.

The Midnight Mission is a non-profit, privately funded organization created by Tom Liddecoat, “Father of the poor” in 1914, to offer a path to self-sufficiency for men women and children who have lost their way.

There are many stories told by many voices, and The Midnight Mission’s goal is to help the less fortunate with their 12-step recovering program that offers job training, education, and work programs, all created to helping those who have fallen get back on their feet.

Besides their unique 12-step recovering program, The Midnight Mission offers food, shelter, clothing, personal hygiene needs, and medical care.

Last year The Midnight Mission proudly served over one million meals without any government funding, and by generous donations from the community and their partners.

Their goal is to put an end to hunger, and to help the less fortunate, and they proudly serve the community 365 days a year without any hesitation.

While walking the long corridors of The Midnight Mission, the El Paisano staff was quickly impressed with how many volunteers were present, and how generous everyone was. Besides some folks outside on Skid Row, the people inside were all very warm and generous and most important, grateful for the helping hands.

Veteran’s Day was celebrated on Friday, Nov. 15, and the rooms were filled with Volunteers and Veterans receiving aid for serving their country.

Public Affairs Coordinator; Ryan Navales, a recovering heroin addict and former alcoholic who shared his inspiring story, is a perfect example of a clean, sober, individual; who at one point was plagued with his addictions and demons. He is an example of someone who fought, and won the battle of addiction and can share his triumphant story with those battling the same demons themselves.

Navalez, has been clean and sober since Aug. 30, 2011, and talked about his struggles, separating from his wife, and almost losing his little daughter due to drugs and alcohol addiction. Navalez, first drank in fourth grade, and struggled with addiction until he walked inside the double doors of The Midnight Mission. He will celebrate Thanksgiving at the mission with his little daughter, and celebrities like Dick Van Dyke this Thanksgiving. Navalez, continues to raise awareness and continues inspiring those who once walked the same steps he walked not too long ago.

Besides offering food and shelter to some less fortunate individuals, the midnight mission also offers daily haircuts to those who need it. It also turns into a beauty salon on Wednesdays, and they even have regular entertainment like comedians from The Laugh Factory, as well as a doctor on sight from Monday through Friday.

Now, one of the main concerns and issues people have while walking the streets of Skid Row is the smell. Well, The Midnight Mission opens the doors to its restrooms 24 hours, seven days a week, to aid the 3,000 to 4,000 people sleeping on the streets of Skid Row.

Another program The Midnight Mission offers is a 1-year alcohol/drug program for men with 250 beds in the facility. These men get randomly drug tested throughout their stay, and are offered counseling, and a chance to attend school or find a job.

The Midnight Mission also avoids religion in their services so they do not offer prayer or even have a chapel on site.  This extra little detail is greatly appreciated by the individuals seeking help because they all have different religious upbringings and different religious views.

Also, 65 percent of the daily day to day operations are done by recovering individuals who have been given a chance to work inside the mission and stay off the streets.

24 percent of those individuals walk away from the program clean, and sober with a different point of view on life and ready to interact with others and transition with a job. Their success rate is four times the national average, making The Midnight Mission one of the best non-profit organizations in the United States.

The growing population of homeless people on the streets is women and children, and it is important to raise awareness to stop the numbers from growing, and bring this issue to a grinding halt.

If anyone would like to help contribute or donate but do not have money, the Midnight Mission always welcomes volunteers with open arms and keep in mind, they’re open 365 days a year.

For more information on The Midnight Mission, please go to http://www.midnightmission.org