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Coachella Valley Rescue Mission graduates clients while anticipating post-pandemic surge in demand for services

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They're celebrating graduations at the Coachella Valley Rescue Mission. 

Seventy-three people are ready to start new lives after living at the mission for months.

They received training for new life skills and job skills, and spiritual encouragement. 

"Jesus Christ is my savior and lord and he has brought me so far and he has brought me way to far to let me go now," said CVRM client and graduate Sylvia Jones. 

Homeless for a year and once addicted to drugs, she's now employed part time at the mission and looking for an apartment.

Francisco Olmedo is a recovering alcoholic who also looking to the future. 

"I never imagined myself ever getting clean doing it on my own," said Olmedo. 

Those who work at the mission say the biennial graduation ceremonies are the best days of the year.

"When the light comes on in their eyes and they can see that they can make it that journey is priceless to watch," said CVRM Program Director Mark McGowan.

But the pandemic has had an impact at the mission as well. 

The rescue mission staffers say upwards of 20 percent of their clients have been impacted by Covid-19, whether the loss of a loved one, the loss of a job, or the loss of a home because of the virus.

Counselor Mark McGowan and the rest of the staff say they will only see more demand for services in the days ahead, especially when evictions are allowed to resume in a valley where housing is already tight.

"We are foreseeing that we are going to be incredibly busy at the mission," said McGowan. 

McGown says Clients are also coming from a wide range of backgrounds and include men, women and children.


Coachella Valley Rescue Mission 

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Tom Tucker

Tom Tucker is a veteran broadcast journalist with nearly 20 years of experience. Learn more about Tom here.


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