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Q&A with Jim Palmer, President and CEO of Orange County Rescue Mission (OCRM)

Note: The article content below is from our newsletter archives. In June of 2023 Dr. Palmer stepped aside from his role as CEO and the organization promoted COO, Bryan Crain to the role of President.

Since 1992, Jim Palmer has been President and CEO of Orange County Rescue Mission (OCRM). Under his visionary leadership, OCRM has grown from one campus to twelve in responsive efforts to meet the needs of the community. Today, OCRM has grown into the largest, faith-based, non-profit organization serving homeless families and individuals throughout Orange County.

Today, OCRM has grown into the largest, faith-based, non-profit organization serving homeless families and individuals throughout Orange County.

Jim's background includes serving as County Commissioner of the OC Housing Authority, Founder of the OC Partnership to End Homelessness, and council member of the City of Tustin, as well as extensive community volunteerism, leadership, and development.

Jim is also a strong advocate for children's issues in Orange County and has personally fostered nine children and adopted three.

Circular number one

Why Serving USA?: Since 1963, Orange County Rescue Mission (OCRM) has ministered ‘the love of Jesus Christ to the Least, the Last, and the Lost’ in your community. Full attention is given to envelope those in need, offering them assistance to become healthy, stable, and empowered. Outreach includes homelessness prevention, children's education, daycare, adult education, employment and vocational training, veterans’ programs, housing, addiction recovery, and much more. How is partnering with Serving USA a benefit to your progressive work?

The Orange County Rescue Mission cannot do this alone. We are very encouraged by the hundreds of volunteers, donors, businesses, and ministries, like ServingUSA, that have come together collaboratively over the years to offer real hope to those experiencing life crises. We have the opportunity to see firsthand how partnerships with organizations like Serving USA have offered countless homeless families and individuals a hand-up and a pathway to self-sufficiency. Truly, without your partnership, we couldn't do what we do to help the Least, the Last, and the Lost of our community. Thank you!


Circular number two

Emotional/Spiritual Health: Currently a CEO, employer of 90, and supervisor of thousands of volunteers, you’ve spent over three decades advocating in many capacities as a respected pillar and voice in the community. What is your secret in finding a balance between humor and the heartbreak you see? What drives you to continue pouring yourself into this work, and how do you replenish your positive spirit?

Serving as President and CEO of Orange County RescueMission, I have an unbelievable joy!

When I look under the surface of homelessness, I often find things that cannot be addressed by handing someone keys to an apartment. Things like pain, addiction, physical illness, abuse, mental illness, sex trafficking, and a lack of resources and skills. The secret to finding the balance between joy and heartbreak is showing a homeless person restoration through Jesus Christ. Seeing thousands of men, women, and children experience this restoration and journey to self-sufficiency

compels me to continue this work at the Rescue Mission and inspires me more and more to provide a faith-focused, passion-driven program for success.

Circular number three

Advice for Success: Your personal and professional accomplishments make you an absolute subject matter expert in life and community transformations. What piece of advice might you offer someone in the Serving USA community who is seeking a new direction in life or to make a positive change?

I vividly remember my earliest days with Orange County Rescue Mission in 1992. We were what you would call a "mom and pop" ministry with the capacity to serve nine men.

To say that I have seen many changes in the last 31 years is an understatement!

But one thing that hasn’t changed is my strong conviction that homelessness is more than a lack of shelter. I believe and have seen countless times, that true and lasting life transformation comes from a relationship with Jesus Christ.

People not only make their way out of homelessness to self-sufficiency, but they also find their way to personal restoration and a new life!

I am so appreciative of the many people who join us in this work, like ServingUSA. I am grateful beyond words for your contribution to the growth of our mission to minister the love of Jesus Christ to the Least, the Last, and the Lost.

Orange County Rescue Mission logo

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Each month Serving USA publishes a newsletter featuring our amazing ministry partners. We are so blessed by them as they work to make an impact with veterans, women in recovery and individuals who have been incarcerated.


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