Updates: ‘Orange County’
GCHope exists because of Volunteers. I know its hard for me to sound sincere about this while writing a blog on GCHope’s website, but it’s 100% accurate. Just think for a second about the 1,100+ backpacks that get filled with 20 pounds of food every single week. It would take half of our 18 staff members working just on that every week to make sure it gets done right. Thanks to our weekly 50-60 volunteers who help with this process, our staff can spend our energy on delivering the backpacks, coordinating with families and schools, fundraising and administration, not to mention the other two programs we run every week that demand equal portions of our time.
There is simply no way we could do it all without our volunteers. Over the past four years, it has been my privilege to work with, coordinate and meet many of the 3,000 volunteers that serve alongside us each year. During this time, I have learned several things about how volunteers really can make a significant impact for the vulnerable children and families we serve. All our volunteers are wonderful, but every once in a while a volunteer goes well above the call of duty to serve children in need.
Here are a few things you can do to be a volunteer that makes a difference:
1. Ask Questions
Our staff are neck deep in the tasks they need to do every day/week/month and sometimes we forget that you can’t see all the details we do. Be intentionally curious about why you are doing what you are doing. The more you know about our programs, how they function and where you fit in that process, the more we can rely on you to do your job effectively.
2. Look for ways to take Ownership
Though it may seem like a simple thing, volunteers that can be relied on to own a particular task make a huge difference in our ability to serve. For example, when you become a leader for other volunteers, teaching them what needs to be done, you are making it easier to reach more kids with our program. I can’t emphasize this enough! We want you to see the volunteer-staff relationship as peer-to-peer, not employee-supervisor. You are a part of the team and we want you to own that! Ask for responsibilities. Look for opportunities to be trained as a volunteer leader.
3. Speak your Mind
We can’t expect you to be part of the team without good communication. You are in the middle of the work and your feedback is extremely valuable. There may even be times when we have different opinions about things, but your point of view can only help make our programs stronger.
4. Connect your circles to the Mission
When you hear that we have a need for a web developer and you know your cousin would be willing to donate some of her expertise, reach out to her for us. If we ask her, it simply won’t mean as much. Is your office looking to help out during the holidays? Make sure they know about our toy drive. You are the best ambassador to your networks. If you believe in the mission, they may want to as well.
An actively engaged and deeply integrated volunteer force is one of GCHope’s most valuable assets. Every week they make it possible for us to reach 4,000 kids with nutritious and stable food supplies. If you haven’t joined this team yet, we need you! Sign up to be a volunteer today and remind these children that is a whole army of people who care about them and want to see them live and eat healthy.
Contact: Carly Visbal
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Orange County Nonprofit Website Hacked By Cyber Terrorists
Buena Park, Calif. — Giving Children Hope’s website was hacked into on Monday, January 5. No personal or donor information was compromised.The hacker group, self-identifying as a Syrian rebel sympathizers, took over the homepage, turning it into a black screen with red text reading, “I love ISIS”. Giving Children Hope’s staff immediately took down the site to address the problem. Within a few hours, Giving Children Hope’s website was back up and running. All online donations and personal information is not stored on the website and is secure.
Giving Children Hope is one of the few Orange County nonprofits sending relief supplies to displaced Syrian refugees. The organization has sent 18 container loads to refugee camps in Lebanon and Jordan. Giving Children Hope’s Executive Director, Sean Lawrence, visited Lebanon to oversee distribution in September 2014.
There are 3 million registered Syrian refugees with millions more still in Syria in need of humanitarian aid. Giving Children Hope will continue to support the Syrian people living in refugee ghettos and camps desperate for safety for themselves and their families.
To donate to Giving Children Hope’s Syrian refugee work visit www.gchope.org/donate, call 714-523-4454, or mail a check to Giving Children Hope, 8332 Commonwealth Ave., Buena Park, CA 90621.
Giving Children Hope is a faith-based partner providing sustainable hope through wellness programs and disaster response in collaboration with local and global communities. We do this through the gathering and giving of Medical Resources, Nutritional Foods, and Basic Needs.
We are very thankful to have had Best Buy stop buy to volunteer this past Wednesday! Our volunteers help us so much, especially during the holidays. With Christmas approaching in just one week, you could imagine how thankful we are to have a team of enthusiastic volunteers. These excited volunteers were more than ready to help. Their energy and holiday spirit lifted the office. We loved having Best Buy participate in our mission of serving vulnerable children and families across the street and around the world. Thanks Best Buy!
It all began when a GCHope volunteer suggested that her kid’s martial arts studio do a toy drive for GCHope during December. This small idea grew to be a contagious movement throughout the community and turned into a toy, food, and cash drive for the vulnerable children GCHope serves. In one month the American Martial Arts Academy in Fullerton raised $1,600 and around $300 worth of toys and food for underprivileged children. GCHope is so grateful to the couple hundred families that showed up in a big way for families in need this Christmas. This is an incredible amount and we can’t believe how one martial arts academy could be behind all this. Thank you American Martial Arts Academy and all those who participated!
We love seeing how enthusiastic children can be about giving back to the community. When a group of Camp Fire girls came into GCHope, we were stunned by what they did. A group of 12 Camp Fire girls came together to created an amazing food drive in their own community of Long Beach. This group of young girls had brown bags donated from Fresh and Easy. They attached a flyer to each bag asking for donations of canned or boxed food and left these empty bags on the porches of houses in their community. When the girls returned at the end of the week to collect the donations, they had an overwhelming amount of support from their neighbors. Together, the Camp Fire girls collected over 188 pounds of food for homeless children in Orange County! Thank you, Camp Fire girls for participating in our mission of serving vulnerable children and families. We cannot wait to have you come back!
We love our volunteer groups! Just last week, we had a group of wonderful volunteers from Experian. This group of volunteers went above and beyond what was asked of them. Besides volunteering here at GCHope, the 27 volunteers collectively donated $500 from their own pockets for GCHope! Amazing work, Experian. Thank you for participating in our mission of serving vulnerable children and families across the street and around the world.
On a street in Buena Park, within the scope of 2 football fields, hope grows. A homeless family walked into our office today needing shelter. Dad has work lined up, but in the interim they pan handle for a warm place to sleep. They came to Giving Children Hope, looking for…hope. We do not offer hotel vouchers, but we do have a few friends that understand what we do and happily help when they can. At the far end of Commonwealth is the Jain Center, and that is where I know my friend Prafulla. She paid for the family’s stay at the hotel just 100 yards down the block from her church. When I left to pay for the room, I told a staff person where I was going. She was once homeless; she went to her purse and pulled out 2 Target gift cards she insisted I take to the family. I drove the distance of a football field to the hotel, which sits smack in between our organization and the Jain Center. I met the appreciative family and the hotel clerk handed mom the keys. When I explained the two gift cards were a gift from a staff friend, she looked at me as if I gave her the winning powerball ticket. She asked me to thank the generous donor who helped them in their journey.
It’s days like this, when we do what we normally don’t do, that true meaning and purpose fill every bit of our soul.
Written by: Giving Children Hope’s Director of Community Programs Christine Sanchez
The family with their Target gift cards.
There were 316 wonderful guests who attended GCHope’s annual gala, Delivering Hope, this Saturday at the Hyatt Regency of Orange County. GCHope staff is so incredibly blessed by our family of supporters that truly care about making a difference in the lives of so many children. “It was amazing having so many of our GCHope family members in one room showing their passion for the cause,” said Executive Director Sean Lawrence. “It was an exceptionally successful event.”
The 19 40’s themed evening entailed a silent auction, live music, a live auction, dinner and dancing with special musical guests, the Los Angeles Muses. Sean Lawrence spoke about GCHope’s response to the Syrian refugee crisis, sending more than 17 containers of needed items for those in refugee camps in Lebanon and Jordan. He narrated the tragic stories of refugees he met and prayed with on his most recent trip to Lebanon. Director of Community Programs, Christine Sanchez, shared about GCHope’s food distributions both locally in Orange County and internationally in the Philippines, and board member Dr. Vance Gardner shared about our medical resources changing lives around the world. Those who attended heard real life success stories from those that are being fed, loved, and supported by GCHope.
The total amount raised at the gala was $92,000!!!!! Thank you to everyone that helped us raise that incredible amount. All donations will go to support GCHope’s food distributions both locally and internationally.
GCHope’s gala was sponsored this year by Thrivent Financial, Nutrilite, Shelly BMW, Lee & Perrin Real Estate, Southern California Gas Company, Buena Park Downtown, US Bank, and Esquivel Shoes.
Jessica, one of Giving Children Hope’s WGYB kids, greeted me with a toothless smile and began telling me all about her life and how excited she was about all the new things she was receiving from GCHope. Jessica appears to be a joyful, normal child growing up in Orange County, but her big heart has gotten her through many trials.
Jessica can’t walk long distances without feeling pain or exhaustion since a recent surgery in July. Jessica was born with Spina Bifida, which is a condition that prevents her vertebrae from fully forming. It caused her to hunch and would eventually disable her. Jessica’s doctor decided she needed surgery to prevent further damage in July and the next day she came back to have it done. On average, for every hundred people that have this particular medical procedure, only one person is able to regain enough function in their spinal cord to walk. It is a huge answer to prayer that Jessica can use her legs and within two months already she can stand, walk, and will soon be able to run.
Jessica still gets very tired from walking everywhere since her family doesn’t own a car. GCHope was able to give her mom a beautiful new stroller for Jessica to ride in that retails for close to $500. Jessica’s family lives in a studio apartment and the three of them sleep on the floor every night. Sleeping on the floor has been hard on Jessica’s back and her mother humbly reached out to ask for a few things that might better her recovery. Thanks to an amazing donor, GCHope was able to deliver a bed and mattress that Jessica can sleep in every night. Since receiving her new bed, Jessica says she wakes without pain anymore. The family also received all new linens, bedding, and some clothing because they recently had to throw out many items due to bedbugs in their home.
There is so much to be thankful for when hearing Jessica’s story. Her life truly is a miracle and GCHope is thankful to witness it and be able to walk alongside this family, offering encouragement and support whenever possible.
GCHope’s Community Development Director, Elizabeth Saldana said, “Through our Tackling Child Hunger event we have been able to make new friends that share our passion for helping the less fortunate. It has been a blessing to see so many people across various cities come together to collect food for the homeless children and families we serve. A simple bag of rice or canned meat can make the difference between a child going to bed hunger or not. Many children will be going to bed with a full tummy because of our new friends aka Hunger Fighters. On behalf of all the children we serve we thank you for your generosity and look forward to doing it again next year!”
Tackling Child Hunger wrapped up on September 30! We had an amazing turn out from four cities and 40 schools that participated in order to help local families in need. GCHope staff was amazed by the willingness of so many people to make a month-long food and fund drive possible. A HUGE shout out and thank you to the City of Buena Park, City of Stanton, City of Fullerton, Los Cerritos Center, and Buena Park Downtown for hosting food drives. More importantly, thank you for believing in GCHope’s mission to serve vulnerable children across the street and around the world. GCHope is lucky to be surrounded by so many cities, business, organizations, and individuals that joined Tackling Child Hunger to make our local community a better place.
The grand total donated was 18,800 pounds of food! All of the food received will go directly to the homeless children in WGYB that receive a backpack of nutritious food every week.