All posts by C.O.Re Team

Our Community Has Moved But We Are Still Here!!

As of October, we have turned over the last keys of the last house to the new owners. It has been a bittersweet time as we remember all of the memories of almost 23 years there. We have such great memories, so much joy but also hard and sad times. Times of loss and lots of gain. The best is all the people we met over the years, teams and individuals, children, great gifts. God was always faithful, always. This property is now being fixed up and rented for market value. So we say goodbye to our time there and look forward to what is ahead.Thankful that all of us have found places to live for now and waiting to see what is next.

We are still at the warehouse more than ever now, so come by and see us. We are still serving food at the warehouse, schools and apartments. Our recuperative care house is still open. We now have an 8 bedroom house to care for more men.

Thank you for all your prayers, support and encouragement along the way. God is always good.
“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances: for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” 1Thessalonians 5:16-17

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Also our Instagram page cityofrefugesd

We Are Moving!!!

We put up a few months ago that our property was sold, well after 60 days of extension from our landlady and 30 more days from the new buyer, we now know we can no longer continue to do what we have been able to do for 22 years. We are blown away with thankfulness for the 22 years we were able to live and serve on this very unique property and landlords who blessed what we did. We are thankful we have been good tenants and good neighbors and able to serve the community. We are up and down even though we are walking in faith. God had this idea and put it all together and we said yes, so we know He will lead us now.

Please pray for us and if you hear of anything, houses, apartments, storage boxes please let us know.

We still have the Warehouse and still have our trucks and still pick up food so all those who receive food, we will continue to serve as we have done.
…and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
Philippians 4:7

***Christmas Blessing 2018***

‘Tis the season for Christmas Blessing 2018!!!

Last year, our Christmas Blessing was able to give away over 650 gifts! We had the opportunity not only to give away at our warehouse and kids club, but we also gave to kids at a local apartment building. Without everybody’s help, we wouldn’t have been able to create this amazing day full of God, love, and the holiday spirit. Thank you to everyone that was able to make last year so special to so many kids!

To get things started for this year, we’re having an Amazon gift list for anyone that is looking to send gifts our way. This year we have our list through AmazonSmile which also gives a small donation to the City of Refuge with every purchase. All you have to do is click the link to view the list and purchase gifts for the giveaway.

When you check out, please click the “City of Refuge-Heather Wilson gift registry address” to have the gifts shipped to us. Also, we will be closing the wish list on December 7th as we don’t want anybody’s gifts to go ungiven as Amazon can sometimes be late with the deliveries.

Don’t forget the teens, as gift cards and movie tickets always make for great presents!

For 18 years now, the City of Refuge has held a HUGE Christmas Blessing that is able to serve many kids in the neighborhood. Close to 800 kids will be able to get a gift from us on this day, and for many, it will be their only one.

This year will be the 19th Christmas Blessing!!!

While we never tell the children when the blessing will be, they tend to find out from us pulling out the decorations, hanging lights, and playing Christmas music. Families will typically begin to line up at 8:30 AM, and that’s when we make sure they aren’t bored waiting through the line. We have hot cocoa, cookies, crafts, coloring, face painting, and balloon animals all going on through the line. Once they’re next up in line, they will enter the Christmas Wonderland that is our warehouse, listen to a Christmas story, and be given their gift! Kids only have to wait their turn in the line, no pre sign-ups are needed.

The gifts we look for are new, unwrapped, for ages infant to 17 years old, and $10 to $15 dollars. If you would like to drop off gifts we ask that you bring before Wednesday on December 13th. However, we won’t ever turn down gifts!

The Christmas Blessing will be on December 15th at the City of Refuge Warehouse.

If you have any more questions, would like to find a time to volunteer, or have donations of either presents or monetary donations, please E-mail us at 

We look forward to seeing you and helping us make this the best Christmas for kids all around the neighborhood!

*Please note to make gifts within price range as many kids have siblings and we don’t want to have any hurt feelings. Thank you.

Those of you who would like to volunteer and help us during this Christmas Blessing, here is the schedule for the week of. Also please don’t park in the alley.

Our warehouse is located in the alley behind the address 2452 Market Street San Diego, CA 92102, between 24th and 25th Street and Market. Jack in the box will be on the corner of 24th Street and Market.

The week starts MONDAY DECEMBER 10th-14th






If you plan on attending any of these dates, please contact or call/text 619-788-2063 as it’s possible that times change.


Volunteers, please arrive at 9:00 am

We will have a brief meeting where we will assign duties. The duties are as follows.

  • SET UP
  • GIFT ROOM – 13 and up

If you plan on attending, we ask that you park in the surrounding area and not in the alley. There are several fast food places around the block for lunches, and please keep track of your children.

Again THANK YOU to all of the churches, individuals, schools, youth groups, and businesses who have helped serve alongside us for all these years. We all love and appreciate you SO much and are excited to work with all of you again, with some fresh new faces, in this new year. We pray you all have a wonderful Christmas and a blessed new year!

Recuperative Care House

We opened our Recuperative Care house 2 years ago this past March. We have been able to be a refuge for over 100 men whose home is the streets. These men are coming out of the hospital and need time to recuperate before moving on. The Hospitals call for placement. They stay with us days and some months. We have been able to get some in housing, some go home to their families. And sad some go back to what they know on the streets. God has healed some and some have accepted Jesus as their Savior. One brother, after receiving Jesus and being baptized, went home to heaven.

We have had 5 new guys that have come in to stay with us these past few weeks. Here is one of the guys that have stayed with us who would like you to know of them and pray for them….

This is William. He is 22 and has brain cancer. He had 90% surgically removed and is waiting on a treatment plan for the other 10%….

Thank you for your prayers….


Our 20th Anniversary Celebration

So many of you have touched us with your love and support through the years, we want to celebrate our 20 years with you. Come and join us for worship, tacos and a time of blessing for our neighbors.
Saturday November 5th 9am – 2pm at our warehouse
2452 Market st (located in the alley behind Jack in the box)core-event

Event info on our facebook page here,


Lucas Makana Riley

With deep sadness we share that our wonderful friend, Lucas Makana Riley, was killed Saturday night by a drunk driver.

We have known Lucas and his family for over 15 years, we have so many beautiful memories of him. Lucas lived in our community for a year, and he was a gracious and loving servant.  He was a gift to all who knew him. We will remember his warm smile and good humor. He was a tender, creative and thoughtful soul.

Please pray for the Riley family and his fiancé Shawna.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Matthew 5:4

We love you and will be together again.14068206_10157391819405523_8365034730546386441_n 14055144_10153767905880849_2938594910789519332_n14115684_337208086668284_1055395639966299763_o     13934867_10157391819825523_8054922884382621315_n 14079964_10157391819460523_650367299618577393_n14046085_10157391819310523_8839037736296064061_n 14102506_10157391819415523_1397209669462941284_n  14064088_10153767889560849_818295214930448222_n14039928_10157391820715523_2033477748951679290_n14067669_10157391819685523_5000226802666880460_n14102175_10157391821320523_1569906488788213583_n

Kids Camp 2016!

We are preparing for the kids coming to Kids Camp 2016!

It starts this Monday, July 11 and goes through July 29, from Monday through Friday each week.  Please pray for all of the kids that are coming, for a fun and safe time and that they would learn about God and His great love for them.

A big thank you to those who have given already! We look forward to working with Week Of Hope again this year.

Those of you who are still interested in giving, if you would like to sponsor an ice cream party, pizza lunch, craft donations, or just a gift of money, please let us know.

Please contact Heather Wilson at IMG_1422(1)IMG_4109IMG_1418(1)IMG_1419(1)IMG_1415IMG_1417(1)

One of our Missionary’s Stories

My name is Jenny, I am 23 years old and I spent one year with City of Refuge from March 2015 until March 2016.
After a short visit to City of Refuge in March 2014 I went home to a job and an apartment, never thinking about moving for a longer period of time. But I did.

The most important thing I learned at City of Refuge is God’s heart and love for the poor.
I’ve been a Christian for a couple years and I’ve been reading the bible, but I’ve never paid attention to how much God wants us as Christians to take care of the poor and hungry.
It was very exciting to understand Gods heart for those that have nothing and at the same time being able to actually do something – which is exactly what God calls us to do.
Jesus came to save us and the more we look at Him and try to be like Him the more we want to save others. So it’s only obvious that working at City of Refuge feels like you’re doing, what you’re supposed to do! At least that’s how I felt.

Although I didn’t know the people we served when I first arrived, I had the privilege to become part of families and friendships that others had built for many years!
I absolutely loved the work and seeing people pour out their lives to serve and bless others, it is very encouraging!

Another thing I’ve learned is more personal and something God showed me about myself.
I’ve always hung out with kids but I never viewed “being good with kids“ as a talent. “Everybody is good with kids“ I often thought, so I never really thought of it as something special or something God wants me to do.
In my year helping out at Kids Club I realized how much I love being around the young ones, sharing stories & especially Jesus‘ love.
So now back in Germany I see the children’s work very different, I’m more encouraged to give them more attention and time and effort!

I am very grateful for that year, aside from things as I’ve known them, for all the friendships, for all the minutes spent with precious kids or serving people God loves so much.

Most of all I’m grateful for the things God showed me, how I know Him better now and how I understand what He wants me to do a little more than before.

I’d come back in a heartbeat!

We are looking for missionaries to live and serve with us!

Who We Are Looking For

We are in the midst of a season of change. We have folks leaving the community, and we also have had shifts in our housing arrangements. At this time we have room for self supported missionaries who are interested in serving with us for six months or one year. We are looking for strong, committed believers who view themselves as missionaries, and are serious about serving in the inner city. We have room for both single adults, and for two married couples.

Who We Are

We are a Christ-centered community serving in San Diego’s inner city. For over 19 years our goal has been to meet the physical needs of those in our neighborhood, and to build meaningful and lasting relationships that point our neighbors to Christ. Our heart is not to simply preach the gospel with words, but to emulate Jesus’ way of life by loving the least of these. Our belief is that God’s heart is for the poor, and that we can be His hands and feet by helping the most needy.

What We Do

For us, living in community means sharing the most mundane moments of life and the extraordinary ones. We live and work together, and our commitment to each other has to be as strong as our commitment to those we serve. We eat together five days a week, and share our work load. Our community also houses individuals who are in need of much support and care, whether they face mental health issues, drug/alcohol addiction or physical sickness. Our six-day work week is full of food pick-ups and distributions, grocery deliveries, times of prayer and worship, working with neighborhood kids, visiting with our friends on the street, Bible studies, cleaning our property, distributing hygiene and clothing items, and much more. Some days can be very busy and some can have us working until the late evening, however our goal is to find a balance between scheduled times of work and service and leaving room for the Holy Spirit and His prompting, as we often meet people who need immediate assistance.