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Help for the holidays.

This the season…for volunteers that is.  Everyone is in the mood to give or help, because isn’t that what we are supposed to do?  Many groups this time of year pass out food on the streets.  Instead of being one of the 4th or 5th feeding of the day for people on the streets a better use of resources is to give to existing charities.  

On Tuesday nights volunteers are needed at Salvation Army, 727 E Street.  Volunteers help serve food, pass out clothing donations and clean up after the meal.  If you can help the start time is 6pm and ends around 7:30pm.  Just show up sign in and head to the kitchen if you can make it.  Or contact Johnny Wrigt of MidCity Church of the Nazarene at 619-516-1000 for more details.  Another way you can give to Salvation Army is by giving to the red kettles this season.  Just a little bit of change adds up.  Over the decades, the Salvation Army’s red kettle collections have raised millions of dollars for the organization’s work. Each year, the Salvation Army serves more than 4.5 million people during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. http://christianity.about.com/od/Salvation-Army/a/Red-Kettles.htm

A second organization that does food is Third Avenue Charitable Organization (TACO).  http://tacosd.org/ They work out of a Lutheran Church downtown and have allowed their church to be a safe haven for the homeless.  When they serve food they also provide things like toiletries, medical work, dental work, and even social workers to help clients apply for benefits.  Perhaps a good idea for a service project at TACO would be to help with them as they feed hundreds every night. 
That brings me to my next suggestion.  The biggest stumbling block for homeless is not having valid identifying documents.  As I work with clients at People Assisting the Homeless (PATH) trying to get them housing. I can’t do anything without a valid ID and many folks only have the clothes on their back.  Currently the San Diego Rescue Mission and Scripps Mercy called me because a client who has cancer is about to get released because they don’t have the means to identify him so he can get benefits for medical treatment. 

Presbyterian Urban Ministries (PUM) isthe only agency in town that helps homeless get their birth certificates and state ID’s.  Once they have these items PUM social workers help clients get Social Security benefits or disability benefits if eligible.  Every homeless social service agency utilizes them to help get clients started on the process towards housing.  http://www.pumsd.org/  Maybe a service project idea for PUM would be sponsor a homeless client that is working on housing and needs an ID. This holiday season PUM is giving gifts to Sherman Elementary kids.  The schoool has nearly 700 students; 98% of which come from low income households and 8% which are currently experiencing homelessness. In partnering with Presbyterian Urban Ministries, they have expressed a need to obtain some socks and underwear for our kiddos. If your group would like to sponsor a class Caridad can use you. Email Gina Gardner at ggardner@sandi.net or by phone (858) 926-9215.


Last, would be simply passing out socks and underwear and or doing a specific drive Undie Sunday Drive for Charitites that Caridad work with.  Think of instead sort of the idea like an angel tree, where there is a description of the client age, size and agency that they are at.  If the church does something like that I would coordinate the details with agencies and then Mission would have to agree to do the delivery of donations to the agencies.  For a $20 suggested donation, Caridad will design and send your organization electronic materials to do your own Undie Sunday, (No matter where in the country you live.)  


This holiday Seson Caridad challenges you to give in a creative way, to an excisting charity.  



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