Celebrating twenty-five years of assisting tens of thousands of homeless and needy men, women and families, Union Station Foundation welcomed alumni, volunteers, donors and prominent members of the community at a “Family Reunion” today on Raymond Avenue. “This is a great day in our history,” said Marvin Gross, Executive Director. “More than six hundred people are here today enjoying good food, music and family games. We are all here together as a testament to the important work we do every day helping the homeless and poor change their lives.”
Master of Ceremonies and former Union Station client Rico Cruz said “Like hundreds of others who are here today, it was at Union Station that I found the life line I needed 8 years ago when I hit rock bottom. I am alive today because of Union Station!” Rico Cruz is current Director of Admissions at the Los Angeles County Drug Rehabilitation Center in Acton, California. Joining Rico Cruz in addressing the crowd were California State Assemblyman, Jack Scott, former Union Station Executive Director Bill Lane Doulos and Gross.
“We have come a long way from our beginnings on Union Street,” explained Union Station Board President Gloria Pitzer. In 1973, Union Station was founded by volunteers from Pasadena’s All Saints Episcopal Church and operated from a store-front in what was then the run-down Old Pasadena area. We simply offered coffee, donuts and friendship to those in need. Today the budget is almost $1.5 million and we are able to help people at every step of their journey back to society.”
Union Station Foundation is a non-profit, non-sectarian organization located near Old Pasadena and is dedicated to breaking the cycle of homelessness. To do so, it provides meals, shelter and a wide scope of supportive services designed to help the homeless become stable and self-sufficient. Last year, the agency served more than 110,000 meals, provided 21,000 nights of shelter, provided 1,000 free health screenings and helped more than 100 people find full-time employment. Supportive services include case management, substance abuse recovery assistance, and mental health services. Union Station employs a staff of 41 who are aided by more than 750 volunteers.
“One of the most dramatic indications of the effectiveness of our programs,” said Gross, “is that as many as 70% of our clients leave Union Station for stable housing!”
Nearly 75% of Union Station’s annual operating budget comes from private sources, primarily individual community members, many of whom were present to celebrate twenty-five years of Union Station’s work with society’s most vulnerable citizens.
Those interested in becoming involved with Union Station Foundation may call 626.449.4596.