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MEND MATTERS! With dignity and respect, MEND’s mission is to meet the immediate needs of individuals and families and increase their access to opportunities that strengthen their capacity to thrive.

YOU help us Meet Each Need with Dignity

SHE COULD BE ANYBODY’S DAUGHTER. THANK YOU FOR NOT GIVING UP ON HER.

“I sleep in tents… at the Metrolink…in open places where there are cameras or where someone is working late and can see me, you know? I used to hide from my Mom so she would not know I was homeless. But now she knows.”

FOR EVERY STORY OF RECOVERY from homelessness or addiction there are hundreds more unresolved, faces of crisis at our doorstep and in such need of someone to care. And if not for you – right here beside MEND – this young woman would have no one at all. Thank you….

This is a difficult story to tell you. Teresa is not her name but she wants you to know everything. “I’m not embarrassed to speak the truth,” she says. And she did, sometimes fighting tears and sometimes filling the room with her shy smile.

She wants you to know that it could happen to anyone. And she wants you to know she is grateful to you most of all.

Teresa was at MEND to get a bite to eat and to brush her teeth. But also to hide from a man, a predator, she felt powerless to get away from.

“I’ve been homeless on and off for three years. I want to get clean so I can be with my two children,” she says. Her drug of choice is meth, and three years ago, before her whole world came crashing down, she was holding down a job in aviation maintenance. Her face lights up at this recollection: “I was always independent. I had my own home and car, and my children didn’t need anything.”

Yet, here she was now at MEND, talking about sleeping in brightly lit places with security cameras. Looking closer, you might wonder what went wrong for this young, fragile woman.

Teresa was like any high school student when her mother remarried and moved her family out of Pacoima, where she had spent most of her life. Left alone for days at a time, she experienced an incident….she pauses almost imperceptibly…and her eyes fill with tears. Her family didn’t believe her. So she began to turn to drugs to forget.

Despite this, she was still able to build a good life. Fiercely independent, she had several well-respected jobs and even paid her way to visit Europe. But when she was pregnant, her son’s father died. Soon after, she met another partner. When this relationship ended, she was left a single mother of two.

Then, she met someone she thought was a friend. And life began to unravel quickly. Seeing that Teresa was vulnerable, he began to threaten her children. “He was not a boyfriend.” She clarifies. “He moved in and never left. I was scared.” She was afraid to call the police so, instead, she left her kids with relatives and disappeared.

When she found herself in Pacoima again, she had nothing left. She had lost her children, her job and home.

She remembered, from years ago, her mother volunteering with MEND and happy memories of the Christmas program. So, she thought she might meet friendly faces here at MEND. She told us, “I never thought I’d be here to get help.”

And thankfully, because of your generosity, we are here for Teresa and thousands of hurting people.

“I feel safe here…it is such a blessing,” Teresa says.

These days, Teresa comes to MEND to get a warm meal, clean clothes and hygiene products. Today she is obsessed with brushing her teeth. “I want the toothpaste and toothbrush more than anything,” she says.

She doesn’t take a lot; she has no place to keep things. She adds: “Sometimes I don’t want to eat much because I might not have anywhere to go to the bathroom later.” And she is constantly targeted by drug dealers, such as the man waiting outside. These are too common realities of a woman experiencing homelessness.

But, there is still a bright light of hope in Teresa’s eyes. She dreams of being a mother to her children again – of throwing a tea party for her daughter’s next birthday. She dreams of traveling again. And she said with a smile that talking to friendly staff at MEND reminds her of when she used to go to brunch with friends.

When our team offered to refer her to a rehabilitation clinic, she jumped at the chance. And we are left feeling thankful for being there to catch a strong young woman, making the difficult first steps to fight for her life again.

Thank you for helping us provide a stable, safe place for Teresa and so many others in the Valley. Thank you too, for never giving up on people in need.

A LETTER FROM JANET

Thank you for helping those in need

WHAT IT COMES DOWN TO IS meeting people where they’re at – food for the hungry, compassionate care for the sick, long-term support for those committed to overcoming generational poverty, and a chance at a drug free life for people battling addiction. For those like Teresa who are struggling and hopeless – you provide hope and help. Not just in the food, clothing, and healthcare you make possible. But with a frontline support team that is helping Teresa and others take their next steps – to do whatever it takes to restore their lives. By keeping our doors open you are providing a stable and safe place for the homeless individuals we serve each week…. as well as hope for tomorrow.

One more thing: Our clients are often very generous in return for the support that they receive. For instance, to show her gratitude for the services you have made possible at MEND, Teresa, who shares her story in this newsletter, comes to the center on some weekends and after hours to pick up trash left by other people who are homeless and to tidy up around the building. We are grateful to her…and to you. You are the GOOD that guides and inspires us.

Janet Marinaccio

President & CEO

With Dignity and Respect

Meet the A-Team

During their decade of work, the A-team has cooked and served over 75,000 meals for MEND’s homeless clients.

IN THE HEART of MEND’s Café, Linda Dooley and the A-team serve more than two hundred mouth-watering, carefully prepared, nutritious meals every Tuesday for those who are homeless. Yet the only payment her clients can afford is their thanks.

Linda started volunteering at MEND over 11 years ago. She was joined almost immediately by lifelong friends, Amy Brophy, and Jeannine Isaacs, and followed many years later by Cordon Walker, Narong Tanawong and, most recently, by Diane Parker.

For the A-team, cooking for the homeless is their way of making good food available to our most vulnerable clients – so that they may survive another week, and to hopefully one day get out of their struggles. Their ingredient list is frequently a mystery. What this means is that this extraordinary group often comes up with the most incredible meals from whatever has been donated that day. And they do this with an infectious joy and spirit!

During their decade of work, the A-team has cooked and served over 75,000 meals for MEND’s homeless clients. They are committed, hardworking and generous, and MEND is deeply grateful to them as we are for the thousands of ordinary community members who give of their time and talents each year at MEND.

Partnering for the Future

IF RIGHT NOW is a good time for you to be thinking about the story your own life will tell, at MEND we have a simple and informative packet on leaving a charitable gift in your will that we’d be happy to mail to you, with our compliments.

If you’ve already included MEND – Meet Each Need with Dignity in your will, thank you! Your gift, when the time comes, hopefully, far into the future, will continue MEND’s life transforming services in this community.

Please contact Chanya Blumenkrantz, Chief Development Officer at, (818) 686-7320 if you have any questions or would like to receive the information packet to help in your decision. You can also find information and sample documents at our online site here.

In the end, if the question is how you want to be remembered, then there’s no better way than in the impact your legacy will make in the lives of people in need.

We’re grateful for your support!

You Have Been Such a Blessing to Hurting People

FIVE WAYS YOU CAN CHANGE SOMEONE’S LIFE TODAY!

Make a fully tax deductible gift today.

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Make a Gift of Love. In lieu of flowers or a condolence gift, send a donation in memory of your loved one to MEND. For birthdays, anniversaries, or holidays, celebrate the special people in your life by making a donation in their honor.

Volunteer for our Christmas Program or host a food drive.