San Diego to the Rescue(Mission)

Our San Diego Panera team has had two opportunities to volunteer at the San Diego Rescue Mission this year. We were able to pack hundreds of hygiene kits at one event and help distribute them to those in need at another event.

At the San Diego Rescue Mission, their vision is, “to lovingly address the needs of men, women and children experiencing homelessness by sharing the Good News of Salvation and providing a holistic approach to rehabilitation and recovery.” They truly live up to their mission and help people in need!


In mid-April, our volunteers met up on a Saturday morning with their walking shoes on. Our team was given a few instructions, and they were off to hand out hygiene kits. They smiled as they handed out kits to people. Not only did our volunteers give out hygiene, but they also handed out invitations to a free Easter meal that was taking place at the mission that evening. So what’s in the hygiene kits you might ask? Our other Panera team knows all about that, after filling hundreds of them in July.

On July 1st, our team met up at the San Diego Rescue Mission. We were asked to bring fifteen people and we ended up with twenty-one. We separated into three different rooms and began to pack bags. Each room had supplies needed in order to put together the hygiene kits. All of the supplies used to fill the bags are donated by individuals and groups.


Inside of each bag our volunteers put in shampoo, conditioner, body wash, a toothbrush, tooth paste, lotion, a cozy new pair of socks and other essential items. The last item that was put in the kit was an information packet. These packets let the recipients of the kits know where to go for additional help.


Though volunteering is in no way a competition, leave it to our hard working team members in each group to race to fill more bags than the other groups. The bags were flying down the assembly lines in each room. People calling, “more shampoo in this room, please” and “we need more information packets!”. The director of the Rescue Mission was blown away with the speed and hard work our Panera team brought to the event. We filled every possible kit we could in two hours time. We then had time to put all of the kits in the supply closet in an organized fashion so they were ready to be used when needed.

In addition to the hundreds of kits we packed on site, we were also able to drop off fifty hygiene kits that had been put together at our Encinitas office a few weeks earlier. Our office team stayed after their monthly department meeting and filled fifty bags. They, much like our other Panera team members, were done in no time and smiling the whole way!


In all, we have had thirty-nine Panera team members volunteer over seventy-six hours of time to the San Diego Rescue Mission so far this year. Way to go San Diego team. The San Diego Rescue Mission is an incredible resource to people in our community. Change for Children funds go to help meet the financial needs of the Mission, and it is so wonderful that Share the Dough is able to give their time and energy as a team. To find out more about the San Diego Rescue Mission and to learn how you can help, visit their website at

Mary Thompson