December 14, 2009 (San Diego) -- Did you know that 200 homeless people a year die on the streets of San Diego? That’s what a counselor who works with the homeless told me at our holiday party last night. Children account for 39% of all homeless people nationally—and families are the fastest growing segment. This holiday season, as most people are opening gifts and enjoying warm meals, nearly 10,000 homeless men, women and children are living on the streets or in their cars, enduring bitter cold, hunger, and hopelessness. Many have lost their jobs and homes in this difficult economy. Fortunately, there are some things that each of us can do to help this holiday season.
San Diego Rescue Mission has published an online holiday catalog where you can buy gifts that can change lives. Choose from home cooked meals, peaceful nights of shelter, fresh towels, new socks, and more to give to someone in need this season. Then send an E-card to your loved one saying the gift was given in their name. A gift of $30 will buy a pair of children’s shoes. A hygiene pack costs just $15. For $43.50, you can sponsor meals for 25 people, or give a week of safe shelter for $112.84.
Another facility helping the homeless, St. Vincent de Paul Village in San Diego, holds online auctions of items to benefit the homeless. Current listings include vehicles, electric scooters, furnishings and electronics items.
San Diego Coalition for the Homeless will host "Holiday Magic for Kids" on December 19th at 1 p.m. in downtown San Diego's Golden Hall. Volunteers, donations of food and gifts are needed to brighten the holidays for homeless children and children in low-income families. For details and a detailed needs list, see http://sdhomeless.org/News%20Flash/news/holiday-magic-for-kids. Randy Jones, Legendary Padres Pitcher is honorary chair of the event, which will include clowns, mariachis, Valhalla Choir, Sheriff's mascot McGruff, the San Diego Friar and more.
Donations may be made online via Paypal or to:
San Diego Coalition for the Homeless
270 East Douglas Avenue, El Cajon, CA 92020
North County partner to drop off Donations:
13617 Midland Road, Poway, CA 92064
9am – 1pm Mon thru Fri
If any readers know of any East County organizations where people can donate or volunteer to help the homeless this holiday season or year-round, please post comments below.
Thanks for helping to brighten the holidays for our homeless neighbors in need.