Bay Area Rescue Mission evolves, but goals stay same

Before he turned 30, John Anderson was “a self-centered, egotistical yuppie” managing the Latin America data processing operation for a major oil company, while running his own consulting business on the side.

He also was “a white-collar drug addict” whose marriage had crumbled

“I hated the direction my life was going,” said Anderson, 62. “I walked away from everything, searching … I didn’t know for what.”

After traveling around the country from one friend’s house to another, he ended up on the streets of San Diego, addicted to cocaine, “ashamed, embarrassed and homeless.” He went to the local rescue mission, where “on Jan. 17, 1983, I accepted Christ as my savior,” he recalled, and joined the rehabilitation program.

Today, the Rev. John Anderson is an executive once again, as President/CEO of the Bay Area Rescue Mission, a nonprofit Christian ministry in Richmond. Founded five decades ago as the Richmond Rescue Mission, today it includes an emergency shelter and meals program as well as long-term “New Life” programs dealing with homelessness and its causes, which often include substance abuse.

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