On Sunday, February 28, more than 150 volunteers of all ages arrived at St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church with a tremendous goal: to help sort and organize nearly five tons of donated food and toiletries to feed and fuel the kids and families we serve. To say that we are awestruck, grateful, and humbled by the phenomenal outpouring of support is an understatement.
Throughout the entire month of February, the Newport Beach congregation hosted a donations drive for Project Hope Alliance, encouraging members of its family to take action and transform lives. And that they certainly did.
Last year, the packing party tallied a whopping 3,611 gallons of food (by volume), kicking off a five-year partnership between St. Andrew's and Project Hope Alliance—a component of the church's "Welcome Home" capital campaign. The massive effort was once again wildly successful.
St. Andrew's posted a fantastic recap, and here's a beautiful breakdown:
Total Boxes Delivered: 297
Total Weight Donated: 9,430 Pounds
Food items include pasta, pasta sauce, rice, cereal, oats, crackers, peanut butter, jelly, soup, instant noodles, baby formula, condiments, stuffing, jello, syrup, honey, Chex Mix, fruit snacks, applesauce, dried fruit, Gatorade, jerky, nuts, protein bars, granola bars, and canned tuna, chicken, beans, vegetables, and fruit.
Hygiene items include shampoo, conditioner, hand sanitizer, lotion, razors, body wash, shaving cream, deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste, dental floss, hair brushes, diapers, pull-ups, baby wipes, baby powder, dish soap, dish detergent, laundry detergent, feminine hygiene products, toilet paper, tissues, and paper towels.
The lovingly sorted and packed donations will fully stock our Community Pantry, which nourishes the children and families we serve, as well as nurture the students enrolled in our new Promotor Pathway education pilot program, a partnership with Newport-Mesa Unified School District that pairs experienced mentors with students struggling with homelessness from age 14 through 24.
With a bountiful, brimming pantry, the children we serve gain the physical and mental power to excel in the classroom. This consistent source of sustenance also adds security to our families' lives by closing the door on excruciating monthly decisions, like filling the gas tank versus a child’s belly, and unlocking the ability to effectively prioritize expenses like rent and utilities.
A snapshot of Orange County's homelessness issue sees the faces of more than 32,500 homeless children and 120,000 kids living in poverty. Since 2012, we have moved more than 700 kids and families out of homelessness.
Thanks to St. Andrew's and its family's unwavering advocacy, we will end the cycle of homelessness in Orange County, one child at a time.