Matt’s Story

“If you had asked me when I was 15 or 16, I would’ve seen myself as having a wife, a kid, a dog, you know…”  Matt grew up in a tiny town he explains as a “map dot” in Alabama. Up until about a year ago, he had never been so much as west of his hometown state. But then unforeseeable tragedy struck that rearranged the rhythms […]

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No one is ever too far gone: A community partnership story

Matt Maceira is running with beautiful feet. Romans 10:15 says “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news.” After enduring trench foot, living unsheltered on the streets, and battling addiction, the scars from the life he has since tell a story of grit and God’s unceasing work in us. Today, those same feet carry Matt over sand, concrete, soil, and asphalt to relentlessly share the gospel.  Since he has surrendered his life to Christ, Matt has seen more than 7,000 people accept the free […]

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Angel’s Story

Totally blindsided Angel came to Simonka Place after an abusive relationship with her boyfriend left her broken,  lost,  and desperate. “He got very abusive and became an alcoholic and very controlling. I was totally blindsided. I tried to leave him and … ended up in the hospital because he hurt me and then killed himself.”  During her time in the […]

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Miguel’s Story

Miguel’s grief and guilt were too much to bear when his brother committed suicide, so he turned to drugs to numb the pain. Miguel was just 17. This was the beginning of a 13-year struggle with addiction that cost him jobs and relationships and eventually left him homeless, sleeping under a bridge.   Then one night during a rainstorm, Miguel’s tent […]

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UGM’s Culinary Arts Program is changing lives and building careers

To you or me the sounds of shouting, sizzling, metal clanging, hurried footsteps, and dull pounding are noisy chaos. For Walter Lofton, the Men’s Mission food service manager, these are the sounds of ministry.   “For me, the food service industry has been such a blessing, and I want to share that with other people,” Walter says.    This desire led Walter to incorporate the Culinary Arts Program into […]

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Michael’s Story

Mayhem and mischief Although Michael says he came into UGM, “kicking and screaming,” he had no idea how his life was going to be shaken up in the best possible way.   Back in 2011, Michael had just been released from a 10–year imprisonment after a lifestyle of destruction and violence.   “I was causing mayhem, mischief, selling drugs, lots of violence, lots of criminal […]

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Johnna’s Story

Culinary arts, comfort, and care It’s no surprise that comfort and food go together. Every day, love and care are served fresh out of the kitchen at UGM’s Simonka Place in the form of vegetables, roast, or even fish tacos, some of Kitchen Supervisor Johnna Norton’s favorites to prepare.   Even though Johnna has been whipping up food professionally for years, her career has evolved […]

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Jacque’s Story

  Jacque came to Oregon for a new start after her father had passed away, and met her now ex-boyfriend shortly after arriving. “I stayed with him for quite a while because not only did I not know anybody here, but I was also kind of trapped in the cycle of abuse,” she said. “So, after about four years […]

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Your donations have impact: How items in your closet can care for your community

Every year the average American throws away 65 pounds of clothes. Meanwhile, there’s an average of 42 general items laying around homes, collecting dust from disuse.   But getting rid of these unwanted items could be as easy as donating them to The UGM of Salem Mission Store where 100% of proceeds from community purchases fund programs […]

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Merci’s Story

Beginning at the age of 12, a drug addiction slowly unwound Merci Rickett’s life. Surrounded by a home of dysfunction, neglect, and substance abuse, this was the only life she knew.   Drugs that began as a gateway to social acceptance grew into a means of coping with her turbulent life, numbing her hurt and insecurities. This addiction gripped Merci off and on in her teens and early 20s.   She was clean for a span of 15 years, but […]

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