“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
― Martin Luther King Jr.
Last year saw measurable growth in available services for San Diego’s homeless community. From the actual purchase and construction of a third bridge shelter in the city that provides temporary housing to the shift to solution-based conversations followed up with action, San Diegan’s created change. Together with you and our collaborative partners, we accomplished some pretty amazing things.
- Packed and distributed 100 Winter Care Kits to Bridge Shelter residents
- Gifted warm blankets and gift cards to 324 Alpha Project SanDiego Bridge Shelter residents who lost their belongings after heavy rains overwhelmed the streets surrounding the shelter causing flooding
- Provided and delivered warm clothes, rain gear, hygiene kits, and food to Alpha Project Bridge Shelter residents at the SDCCU emergency evacuation site in a coordinated effort with Feeding San Diego
- Purchased new vans for Family Health Centers of San Diego homeless outreach programs and the Alpha Project Wheels of Change Jobs Program
- Provided funding support to the Regional Task Force on the Homeless San Diego Regional Task Force Rapid Rehousing & Employment Program
- Supported Feeding San Diego, Helen Woodward Animal Center’s Pets Without Walls Program, and the Rock Church’s homeless outreach with financial donations
Notwithstanding, the county still ranks 4th in the nation for having the largest homeless population. Temperate climate, lack of affordable housing and the increasing cost of living, plus the availability of services has led to San Diego ranking in the top again in 2018. This shows that we still have a lot of work to do to support San Diego’s homeless community. The new year is a great time to set intentions for the year. Some make health and wellness goals. Others resolve to hustle more in building their business. And still, others commit to serving the greater good.
For those who look to receive through giving, we’ve collected a list of 3 simple ideas for you to help make a positive impact in lifting the dignity of San Diego’s homeless community.
Idea 1 – If You Have Time to Give, Volunteer
Time is a valuable resource that costs zero dollars to give. Furthermore, there are many organizations vital to improving the lives San Diego’s homeless community. They rely on helping hands to provide the services and the level of care that they do. One way to make your time count is to get out and count. This weekend, the Regional Task Force for the Homeless in San Diego is conducting “WeAllCount” its Point-In-Time census. An accurate count is vital as it provides data for discussion and decision-making on both local and national level.
If you’re unable to participate in the count, how about packing food or hosting your own food drive in support of Feeding San Diego? One of the best features about volunteering for Feeding San Diego is that they accept volunteers as young as 6-years old which means that you can give your kids the gift of service. We can’t think of a better way to spend a family fun day than helping our community’s most vulnerable.
Idea 2 – If You Finished Spring Cleaning, Donate Goods
By now you’ve at least seen the trailer for the new show “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo” about how to purge (and organize) your closets. Whether you employ the KonMari methodology of minimalism or your own personal style of spring cleaning, many organizations need the items that no longer bring you joy.
- Alpha Project San Diego collects gently-used books, clothing, bedding, bathroom linens, and household and office items. Their donation site has additional information including drop-off locations.
- Family Health Centers of San Diego accepts gently used baby items for new moms and moms-to-be in their wellness program. To donate items for the Baby Boutique, call 619-906-4621 or visit their program site.
- Father Joe’s Villages accepts gently used clothing, furniture, jewelry, entertainment items, and collectibles. To schedule a pickup, call 619-446-2100 or find a drop-off center near you.
- Helen Woodward Animal Center collects warm weather clothes such as like-new socks and for their care kits distributed to homeless people and their pets. Donations can be dropped off at the Center.
- Veterans Village of San Diego accepts clothing, towels, and additional household items for veterans in shelters and those transitioning into new homes. For further information on donations, contact the organization at 619-393-2013.
Idea 3 – If You Can Skip Your Morning Cup, Pack a Kit
As Anne Frank so eloquently said, “no one has ever become poor by giving.” This is particularly true when considering how little is needed to make an impact. Consider the cost of your morning coffee. Try to save the $3 (and up) a cup to put towards helping our homeless neighbors. Within a couple of weeks, you’d have set aside enough to provide Winter Care Kits to Bridge Shelter residents. For a $25.00 donation, Winter Care Kits will be purchased, packed and distributed to men, women, and children living in temporary shelters.
The Winter Care Kit program is a fundraising effort focused solely on immediately relieving the suffering of the homeless by providing comfort items for cold weather. Included in the kits are socks, beanies, hygiene items (including feminine hygiene products), poncho, and a gift card to a big-box retailer. Through matching funds, your donation will have double the impact – $25 will fill 2 kits, $125 will fill 10 kits, and $1,000 will fill 80 kits.
Bonus Idea to Serve San Diego’s Homeless Community – Invite a Friend
We know we said we were sharing 3 dignity-lifting ideas, but this last idea takes so little time that it’s almost too easy: share your luck and this post. Follow us on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. And Sign up to receive monthly newsletters to hear the voices of the homeless, stay informed about issues, and discover new ways to alleviate their suffering.