History of the Bay Area Rescue Mission
Using the ground floor of an old hotel, the Rescue Mission launched its care for the homeless by offering 12 beds for men and serving 35 meals every day.
In 1971, the Rescue Mission expanded its services. In addition to sheltering homeless men, we were able to shelter and feed homeless women and families by purchasing the entire building. By the late 1970s, the Rescue Mission had reached capacity. A new building was completed in 1980, housing a chapel, offices, a kitchen, and a dining room, as well as additional lodging for men in the Rescue Mission’s New Life Discipleship Program.
In 1984, the Rescue Mission expanded its services once again, this time building an emergency shelter for women and children. By 1987, the women and family shelter was able to provide emergency shelter for 162 family members.
On June 7, 1992, the Rescue Mission dedicated its new offices, food pantry and distribution center. From this center, the Rescue Mission stores and distributes food to needy families. The food is so generously provided by the local food chains; furniture and clothing are also donated.
On January 1, 1994, a 13,000 square-foot building was donated to the Rescue Mission, allowing the Rescue Mission to enlarge the after-school tutoring program for youth and to establish a computer learning center for people in our discipleship program. This building also houses the organization business offices.
In March 1998, the Rescue Mission started an outreach program in Fairfield ‒ Mission Solano ‒ to help the homeless and impoverished in Solano County. In January of 2003, Mission Solano became an independent Rescue Mission.
In December of 1999, an expansion and renovation project of the kitchen led to the establishment of a Culinary Arts Training Center. This program allows members in the discipleship program to receive college credit, culinary degrees, and quality training for a career in the food service industry.
On January 1, 2000, John Anderson accepted the position as the new President/CEO of the Bay Area Rescue Mission. During the previous six years, John had served the Bay Area Rescue Mission as the Chief Financial Officer, Director of Programs, and Business Manager. Prior to joining the Bay Area Rescue Mission, John served at the San Diego Rescue Mission for ten years.
In 2016, we further developed our culinary arts program to include a social enterprise component to create BARM Foods. It offers food manufacturing skills to those who have barriers to employment. BARM Foods has worked with local area businesses to provide handpies (empanadas), quiches, desserts, and sandwiches.
In 2019, the Bay Area Rescue Mission (BARM) team noticed a troubling trend: the number of women and children experiencing homelessness was rising quickly. BARM was forced to turn away 3,520 women and children who requested shelter in 2019 because there was no room to care for them.
In 2020, that number doubled due to the spread of COVID-19. BARM was heartbroken knowing that vulnerable women and children in the Bay Area had no escape from the dangerous streets, so we’re building a 10,000-square-foot safe home.
In October 2021, construction finishes on the “Bridge of Hope Center for Women and Children”, giving women and families a safe place to stay and experience God’s love as they rebuild their lives.
Also in 2021, Bram Begonia joined us as the fourth CEO since the Rescue Mission was founded in 1965. John Anderson, who served the Bay Area Rescue Mission for the last 28 years, retired and passed on the baton to another godly man. Bram Begonia has been a leader in the nonprofit world for the last 20 years, and we’re excited to see how he’ll usher in the next era of service and visionary leadership in our community.
A meal for a homeless man, woman or child is just $2.09