The Visalia Rescue Mission (VRM), along with about 150 volunteers, served approximately 300 Thanksgiving dinners at its Annual Thanksgiving Banquet, according to Jessica Cavale, VRM director of development.
The annual meal, which featured live music, desserts and a traditional Thanksgiving meal with “all the fixings,” was held at the mission’s chapel/community center at 741 N. Santa Fe, Visalia, from 11 am to 1pm on Thanksgiving.
The Visalia Rescue Mission is a local Christian-based, non-profit that serves the local community by providing a homeless shelter for men, women and children, sleeping on average 150 people each night and serving three meals a day, 365 days a year. The VRM is currently serving approximately 515 meals each day, and served more than 183,000 meals in 2012.
The mission operates a nine-month recovery program for men and women, which includes a mentoring program, life-skill training and job internship programs. The mission, which relies heavily on volunteers from the local communities to support its work, is funded entirely by donations from local businesses, organizations and individuals.
The VRM owns and operates Rescued Treasures Thrift Store on Mooney Boulevard and Simply Chic Boutique on Main Street, both in Visalia. All proceeds from these stores directly benefit the VRM. The mission also has a Feed the Hungry Garden, a gym and a four-plex transitional housing unit and Oval Park revamp, in conjunction with the City of Visalia.
The new VRM Community Center was built to benefit the local community and provide case management and counseling services. Since its opening in September 2012, 100 individuals who were previously homeless have found housing and been employed.