Late in 2006, Janet Rhodes, a member of First Congregational Church Long Beach, realized that when the City closed the main library on Sundays the homeless community in downtown Long Beach had no place to go. On the Sunday after Christmas 2006, Janet, with support from Rev. Jerry Stinson and other members of FCCLB, opened the church campus to those experiencing homelessness and offered cold cereal, sandwiches and a safe place off the streets where guests could relax, socialize and use the computer lab. These simple acts of kindness were the genesis for Urban Community Outreach’s drop-in center; and in 2008 UCO officially incorporated as an independent nonprofit
After the first few months, a nurse began making regular monthly visits to the drop-in center and she and her team of volunteer nurses continue to provide monthly wellness screenings. In 2010, a doctor and her team of college students began making monthly visits to the center and continue to this day to provide private consultations to our guests. In 2015, case managers started working at the center, helped clients apply for government ID cards, and provided referrals and funds for shelter/housing and other services.
Today, the drop-in center has an operations manager and a chef and an army of volunteers to prepare hot meals using primarily rescued food for 130 to 250 guests every Sunday afternoon (except in July). In 2019, the center provided over 17,000 meals.