They’re saying goodbye to their old place to make way for something new.
Darla Burkett is the executive director of the Coachella Valley Rescue Mission.
“We fed thousands, we sheltered thousands and we loved thousands, so it’s a great building but it’s done its time, and it needs to go,” said Burkett.
The building caught fire a few years ago, and that’s when mission staff realized how bad the building had become.
Floyd Rhoades is chairman of the board at the mission and said it was a necessary change.
“There’s no insulation in the building whatsoever. There’s old wiring in there that we would consider, like, extension-cord-type wiring, and so it just made more sense to tear this building down and do something new and different,” said Rhoades.
But it’s a bittersweet moment for hundreds who once lived on the street, including Mark McGowan. Once homeless, he now works full time for the mission.
“I was confused, and I didn’t know where I was going in life, and I walked through those doors, and I said two most important things: ‘I need help, and I need to find God.’ And what they gave me was tremendously more than that,” said McGowan.
And those who know the mission agree.
“The people whose lives have been changed by this location is the most important memory that people will have of it,” said Rhoades.
With 8,000 Coachella Valley donors, the mission can help hundreds of people each day. The demand for food and shelter is up 40 percent.
For those who are a part of it, it doesn’t matter where they are, as long as they can help.
“A chapter came to a close, and our new chapter is this new mission and that we all need to focus and come together to be able to save and rescue more people, men, women and children,” said McGowan.
And what exactly will take the place of the old building? Burkett said they’re not sure yet.
“We have a couple different ideas that would be conducive to the area and conducive to the population, so we’re not quite sure yet, but we’ll keep you posted,” said Burkett.