My Dear Friend,
I sat at my desk for several hours this week, wondering what I would say if we should meet face-to-face this Christmas. Because that isn’t possible, I’m writing this very personal letter—one that is very difficult for me to write. In fact, I have written a similar letter only three times in my life.
But because you are a friend—and because you’ve shown that you care deeply for those we serve here on Skid Row— I felt you would want to know exactly what I’m facing this Christmas.
Los Angeles’ homeless population continues to increase, and more than 1.5 million people in Los Angeles County don’t know where their next meal is coming from. Many of these are hungry children.
The number of hungry, hurting people coming to the Mission for food, clothing, blankets, and emergency help has also increased, and our resources have been stretched to the limit. We’re facing a major budget deficit. That means I am now facing some difficult decisions.
It isn’t simply a matter of cutting budgets. Each cut means more suffering for the desperate, hurting people we serve.
Let me ask you a very painful question: What would you cut? Who would you turn away? As I think of the people looking to us for help, I can’t bear the thought of turning away even one frightened child, one pleading mother, one hurting man— especially at Christmas.
That’s why I need your help today . . . as I’ve never needed it before.
My late husband, Fred, came to Skid Row in 1944 to share God’s love, hope, and forgiveness with homeless, hungry men—elderly men, jobless men, drunks, and addicts who needed to know that someone cared.
All these years later, we still proclaim the same gospel message: “Unto you is born this day a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
Fred loved to celebrate Christmas with our children. He built playhouses, shopped for toys on Christmas Eve, and got down on the floor to play with slot cars and electric trains.
And Fred loved to celebrate Christmas at the Mission’s Christmas Celebration for Kids, where he read the Christmas story, sang carols with lonely men, and fed everyone who had been abandoned and rejected by society.
This will be our 30th Christmas without Fred, and I’m frank to tell you that I miss Fred’s unwavering faith—especially when the needs of the poor always seem to be greater than our resources.
That’s why I am asking for your help today, because I feel that you share my concern for the souls of my lost friends on these streets.
And we’ve never needed your help more than we need it this Christmas.
With your help, we’ll serve Christmas meals to hungry people, supply new toys, warm clothes, and new blankets to children, and give out Christmas dinner food bags for little families, just as we have done every year since 1944.
And with your help, we’ll share God’s Christmas message of salvation and hope here on the streets of Skid Row.
Friend, if we should meet face-to-face at Christmas, I would simply say . . .
“PLEASE, I NEED YOUR HELP! THANK YOU!”
My prayer for you and yours is that Jesus, the Bethlehem Baby, will meet every longing in your heart. May the joy of His presence fill your heart and home at this glorious season!
Willie L. Jordan (Mrs. Fred Jordan)