Arlene Mercer, Executive Director, has 47 years of business experience utilizing accounting, interpersonal, management, and organizational skills while also making strides to improve the quality of life for others through her work at nonprofit agencies, churches and schools. Her most recent nonprofit activities are as the Executive Director of Urban Community Outreach and the Founder & Director Emeritus of Food Finders. She is also the Treasurer and Past President of the Long Beach Area Coalition for the Homeless.

She has held the positions of Health Care Administrator; Controller; Account Executive; Brokerage Account Coordinator; and Management Account Coordinator.  She completed the Chrysler Accounting and Office Management Training Program equivalent to an MBA. She has received local, state and national awards.  Arlene is an Elder at Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church and has been married to Terry Mercer for 52 years; has 2 adult children and 3 grandchildren.

Cherry Bush, Operations Manager, is an Operations Executive with more than eighteen years of experience.  She was a Regional Manager for Boston Market for 13 years. She was Director of Operations for Denny’s for 5 years.  She is currently working for Yogurtland in addition to helping UCO on the weekends.  Her outside activities have been with Toastmasters International were she received an Advanced Communicator Bronze, Competition Speaker, and held officer roles as Club President and Area Governor.  She is volunteering with Redondo Beach Police Department, Redondo Beach, California Volunteer Domestic Violence Advocate

Melody Garrett, Sous Chef, went to Long Beach City College of the Liberal Arts. She received certificates in culinary arts.  She studied bakery One, Two and Three, gourmet cooking, nutrition, vegetarian, and lastly cake decoration prep One, Two and Three. She worked for the Orange County Boy Scouts of America as a chef for six years. She moved on to work for the Long Beach the Winter Shelter for three years.  She worked with the Christian Outreach in Action, as a cook for the homeless for three years.  She has been cooking for Urban Community Outreach for a year. She is also a cook and a manager for a transitional sober living, running a safe, sober and clean house to help women, homeless to get on the right path to recovery.

Ann Lampe, Outreach Worker, has a BS in Psychology from the University of Kansas and a Certificate in Medical Addiction Counseling from UCLA.  She was an Intake Coordinator for a major hospital and has more than 10 years work in case management. She has expertise in all areas of non-profit management, including budgeting, program planning, project management and staff training and development. She is a coordinator skilled at communicating, organizing and solving problems to raise the stature and rankings of non-profit organizations.  She has spent the last 15 years raising her children, while continuing to volunteer in many facets of non-profits. She has worked with grant writing, special events management, advocacy in education, staff management and outreach, among other areas. She volunteered for UCO for a year before being hired.

Diane Gomez, Outreach Worker, has a BA in Psychology from Marymount California University. She was a Wellness Outreach Worker for Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health for three years.  She worked with the clinical staff to help clients achieve their personal recovery goals.  She helped clients with housing and employment or education needs and she assisted clinical staff in triage.  She has also worked as a guest service person at the Hilton for three years and did sales for five years.


Arlene Mercer, Executive Director:

  • Create Community Awareness
  • Supervise Staff and Volunteers
  • Raise Funds with Grant Writing, Campaigns, and Events
  • Maintain Budget
  • Handle outreach work on Sundays and during the week
  • Supervise the outreach workers
  • Provide Reports to Board of Directors
  • Set Up and Maintain Data Bases

Cherry Bush, Operations Manager:

  • Provide overall program supervision of DIC.
  • Food preparation and serving with Sous Chef
  • Oversee Volunteer Coordination
  • Maintain Budget with Executive Director
  • Provide Reports to Board of Directors

Melody Garret, Sous Chef

  • Prepares Food Menu with Operations Manager
  • Helps Operations Manager supervise Volunteers
  • Coordinates with Food Donors & Records Donations
  • Food Preparation and Clean Up with Kitchen Assistants
  • Assists Operations Manager in Analyzing and Evaluating Services
  • Keep a Safe and Pleasant Environment for DIC Program

Ann Lampe, Outreach Worker

  • Gets a consent form signed by the client
  • Interviews UCO guests/clients on Sundays at the Drop-in-Center to discover their needs
  • Is a liaison between UCO guest/client, UCO, and community services and resources to discover the best     way to assist the guest/client.
  • Works closely with Executive Director to decide on the best actions to take
  • Maintain a file on the guest/client

Diane Gomez, Outreach Worker

  • Gets a consent form signed by the client and maintains client/guest file
  • Interviews UCO guests/clients on Sundays at the Drop-in-Center to discover their needs
  • Works closely with executive director and Long Beach Multi-Service Center, Safe Refuge, St. Mary Medical Center, Lestonnac Free Clinic and Molina Healthcare to manage the client/guests mental and physical stability
  • Works with apartment owners to find permanent housing for the client/guests