Located on East Yanonali Street, a good 20-minute walk from Santa Barbara’s city center, the Rescue Mission is quieter and more tranquil than its “boldly go” name would suggest. However, on the 4th of July, the Mission flung open its doors and hosted a delightful, colorful carnival for the homeless of Santa Barbara.
Homeless people from all over the city were greeted with a buffet of burgers and hot dogs, accompanied by plentiful salads and garnishing. As the event took place in the field alongside the homeless shelter, visitors could sit outside and enjoy the afternoon sun, while being entertained by games such as raffles and pie throwing.
Among the hustle and bustle of a Santa Barbara 4th of July, one might worry that the good work done there is lost in all the other events that happen on that day. Perhaps, though, there’s no need to worry. Looking around, all the guests seemed to know each other well and to be content in each other’s company. The volunteers keep the Mission open, offering food and shelter, 365 days a year. It seems that the Rescue Mission is doing very well on its own.
Gregory Edwards, one of the volunteers, was homeless himself for a while when living in Los Angeles. His previous experiences prompted him to help others out by volunteering in the shelter. He believes that, while the Rescue Mission and other shelters provide enough help in sustenance to the homeless population of Santa Barbara, there is “not enough aid given which aims to lift homeless people out of their situation.”
This is certainly a worthwhile issue for the council to look into in the coming months. For the 4th July, escapism in the form of cheery celebrations is what was needed, and the Santa Barbara Rescue Mission delivered this superbly.