The Central Coast Rescue Mission in Santa Maria relies on its transit vans to help clients get to appointments, group meetings and other important meetings related to their recovery, but a recent act of vandalism nearly halted that work.
Sometime Friday morning, what appears to be a man in a hooded sweatshirt approached the Mission’s vans and punctured three tires with a sharp object.
“It took them about 10 seconds,” said CCRM Director Jon Bronkowski.
This act of vandalism took little time but cost the mission more than $1,000 in repairs. Each of those dollars could go a long way to help people struggling in Santa Maria and the surrounding area.
“So $1,000 is about two weeks worth of food and services that happen here at the Rescue Mission,” Bronkowski said.
The culprit has yet to caught or identified, according to Bronkowski.
The Mission also provides beds to about 18 people with plans to expand in the near future.
“Basically, demand for our services exceeds capacity,” Bronkowski said.
One client, David Castillano, came to the mission from Bakersfield last year amid a struggle with addiction that ultimately led to trouble with the law.
“I was going through tough times with alcohol,” Castillano said.
The Mission helped feed and house Castillano and provided him with transportation critical to him bettering his life.
“Blessings left and right,” Castillano said. “They helped me getting around, especially with the vans to appointments.”
“These vans are everything to us,” Bronkowski said. “This is how we transport men to their vocational training, doctors appointments, get DMV records, anything they need.”
These wheels are part of the equation when it comes to helping people like Castillano find the solution to their problems in life.
“Now I’m back on my feet,” Castillano said.
Bronkowski said he is thankful the community knows the importance of services offered by the Mission and is stepping up to help.
“If we get hurt, people reach out because they want to see these services continue,” Bronkowski said. “The individuals we serve, that’s the mission, that’s the point. So we want to make sure services aren’t interrupted.”
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