• Malia

Amid a global pandemic and economic downturn, Family Promise of Orange County was still able to help more families this past year than we ever have before.

In 2020, Family Promise of Orange County supported 65 families (269 people) through Emergency Shelter, Transitional Shelter, and Supportive Services. That’s 99 adults and 170 children who were supported while experiencing homelessness!

This is compared to 2019 when we served 48 families (201 people). That is a 35% increase for families served, and a 34% increase for people served, for 2020.

AND, despite the pandemic, we had 11 families (43 people) graduate to permanent housing in 2020!

Even with reduced intern and volunteer assistance, we were also somehow able to return 974 calls for help in 2020, representing a minimum of 982 adults and 1,186 children (these are minimum numbers since some people do not share their family size information when calling).

What a year!

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  • Malia

The latter part of 2020 brought new blessings for Family Promise of Orange County in the form of three new amazing partnerships in our community!

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints added us to their list of numerous Humanitarian Projects by awarding FPOC with grant funds to be used for groceries, toiletry items, and household supplies for our families. Because of their generous donation, we were able to continue our Grocery & Supply Distribution that was so desperately needed by our families during this pandemic. The Distribution was established in the parking lot of our Anaheim office in March 2020 when the pandemic hit. It was first supplied by private and Food Bank donations, and then with food provided by the CARES Act Farmers to Families Program. However, those funds were set to expire in September, and we did not now how the Distribution would be able to continue. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints stepped in and thankfully we have been able to provide a generous distribution for our families since October 2020!

We have also been able to connect with another congregation in Orange County: St. Paul’s Episcopal Church in Tustin. Some of you might already know that St. Paul’s, in collaboration with local faith communities (including one of our host congregations, Aldersgate United Methodist Church in Tustin), hosts a Sunday Supper ministry providing warm meals to hungry individuals. With our congregational hosting rotation currently suspended due to the pandemic, and with our shower trailer not being used by our families at our host congregations, we have been able to offer the use of our shower trailer to St. Paul’s for them to offer a fresh shower to individuals coming to eat for Sunday Supper. Places that have offered showers in the past for the homeless population are either currently closed due to COVID-19, or are completely overwhelmed. While currently being tested as a pilot project, this collaboration has so far proven to be a great success! Currently, the Family Promise shower trailer is serving 10-12 people every Sunday afternoon, with more expected to be served in the weeks ahead as the program establishes a volunteer base. As Deacon Laura Siriani of St. Paul’s states, “I wish you could all see the impact a shower can make for a person who lives on the street. It is a complete transformation of the spirit.” We are overjoyed that our shower trailer is being put to good use to help those in need during the pandemic!

The latter part of 2020 also brought a new partnership with For Goodness Cakes, a nonprofit organization that connects volunteer bakers with underserved youth to provide them with an amazing cake on their birthday! We had long searched for a program to really help us make our kids feel special on their birthday, and For Goodness Cakes has been amazing! So far we have ordered and received four fabulous cakes for our kids with December birthdays, and we are excited for our January birthday kids to get their personalized cakes!

We are so thankful for these new relationships that have truly made a difference in the lives of our families, and in the community!

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  • Malia

Happy New Year!

While 2020 brought us new challenges that we never could have anticipated, and we are glad to move on to a new year, we are also so thankful for a year in which we were able to help more families than we ever have before.

For Thanksgiving, we were able to partner with HomeAid Orange County and receive Food Boxes collected and assembled from their Thanksgiving Meal Drive. Each of our families received a wonderful box filled with all the Thanksgiving staples, along with a gift card to purchase a turkey or ham. Thank you to all who donated food to the drive, to all the volunteers who helped make it possible, and to HomeAid Orange County!

The Holiday Season in 2020 was a busy one for Family Promise of Orange County. Our annual Adopt-a-Family Program provided gifts and good cheer to 24 families (90 people!) Our Board of Directors helped to provide gift wrapping donations, and staff and volunteers played Santa to safely deliver the gifts to our families. The kindness and generosity of our adopters helped ensure that 57 kids, along with their parents, had a wonderful Christmas morning.

Our families were also able to enjoy donations of Christmas trees with all the trimmings, and our kids were excited to received stockings stuffed with fun surprises, which were provided by our Eagle Scout, Taleah, and other donors. One family came to us for assistance on December 21st, and we were able to ensure they had a safe place to stay for Christmas, complete with gifts under a Christmas tree.

We currently have four families in our two short-term transitional houses, and they were overjoyed to have the houses decorated for the holidays – outside lights and decorations were donated and made for a festive holiday. Lennar Homes graciously donated a Christmas tree for one of our houses, and JCC Cares volunteers provided a meal for our families on Christmas Day.

We also received an overwhelming amount of in-kind donations in the month of December – household items, gas and grocery gift cards, handwritten cards, holiday treats, and an amazing number of TOYS! In all, our donors gave over $14,000 worth of goods for our families!

We hope everyone enjoyed our weekly newsletters during the month of December – highlighting Hanukkah, Christmas, and Kwanzaa, as well as our little holiday song “surprise” from FPOC staff. We wanted to thank our generous donors for their year-end giving to our program – which totaled over $37,000 in donations!

As we turn the page to 2021, we remain optimistic that we will eventually be able to reopen our congregational rotation later this year, as the vaccine becomes more widely available. In the meanwhile, we continue to work tirelessly to end family homelessness in Orange County by offering shelter in our short-term transitional houses and supportive services to our families, including rental assistance, groceries, household supplies, laundry money, and gas gift cards.

We continue to operate our monthly Grocery & Supply Distribution to an average of 15 families, helping to supplement family expenses with fresh and healthy food so that families can focus on keeping their housing. The Helpful Honda folks even stopped by again on January 5th to supply the manpower for this massive undertaking.

THANK YOU to all our supporters, volunteers, and donors for helping to make 2020 a little brighter for our families! We are truly blessed to have such wonderful community support for our program and unified commitment to ending family homelessness in Orange County!

For ways that you can help support Family Promise of Orange County in 2021, please see our COVID-19 Donation Needs or our Volunteer Opportunities.

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