Fresno Rescue Mission Embarks on Project to Rescue the Children
By Nish Housepian
Motel Drive runs along the seam of Highway 99 as it slices through Fresno, Calif. The road, a strip of motels, motor inns and prime rib houses that stopped glittering sometime back in the 1970s, is an area of general disinvestment, where criminal activity, vandalism and blight are commonplace.
So much of Fresno’s population has hightailed it north to the river that the core sits abandoned. Motel Drive has been left to its own devices and when officials talk about revitalizing urban Fresno, the strip is usually left out of the conversation. If you look close enough at this long stretch of neglect, though, you’ll see an piece of Motel Drive being transformed by an extraordinary project, which, when completed, will transform the lives of mothers and their children.
On a 10-acre parcel that once housed the Tradewinds Motor Hotel and its Gaslight Room Steakhouse, the nonprofit Fresno Rescue Mission (FRM) is building an $8 million community campus to redirect the lives of mothers who will come to the center for many reasons: some are victims of domestic violence, some were recently released from prison, some are on the brink of homelessness and others are at risk of losing their children to foster care.