Orange County Rescue Mission is currently housing the highest population of children and their families in the organization's history at its Village of Hope transitional living facility in Tustin, according to the nonprofit's president.
The Tustin shelter, which had its groundbreaking in 2008, has experienced a rise in the number of families with children who are seeking assistance over the past few years, according to Orange County Rescue Mission President Jim Palmer, who reports there are 84 children–including infants, toddlers and school-aged kids–there now. The influx has put a financial strain on a program that aims to get the neediest folks back to self-sufficiency.
"The children living at our transitional living facilities are certainly the youngest and most innocent victims of homelessness in our community," said Palmer. "As part of our ongoing goal to end the cycle of homelessness in families, we are calling on the community to help us assist these children in need by providing food, clothing and other basic items that will help them to continue their fresh start to a new life."
He says the Village of Hope sheltered 498 homeless people from October 2013 to October 2014, compared to 309 individuals over the same period the previous year. Many who wind up in Tustin were turned away from other programs for not being eligible, such as single fathers and large families, Palmer added.
As the program has been saying for years, just $1.48 provides a hot meal for a child in need. Those wishing to donate can visit www.rescuemission.org or call 714.247.4300.