5 Compassionate Organizations Serving Southern California Communities

Like anyone else, Southern California residents grapple with a number of issues, from homelessness to hunger to childhood trauma. Thankfully, organizations like the ones listed here are dedicated to making sure that underprivileged people have what they need to thrive. Working to provide shelter, emotional support, and more, these groups spread compassion throughout the region. This video was made with Ezvid Wikimaker.

Southern California Groups That Help Those In Need

Organization Headquarters Location Mission
SPIN Costa Mesa, CA Restore Orange County's homeless families in crisis to housing and self-sufficiency through long-term, proven case management and support services
Interface Children & Family Services Camarillo, CA Strengthen children, families, and communities to be safe, healthy, and thriving
Walk With Sally El Segundo, CA Provide hope through individualized mentoring and community support services to empower children experiencing trauma through a parent, guardian, or sibling's cancer journey
Foodbank of Santa Barbara County Santa Barbara, CA End hunger and transform the health of Santa Barbara County through good nutrition
FACE Foundation San Diego, CA Enhance and preserve the quality of life of animals by providing access to necessary medical care and education

Items Homeless Shelters Need

All shelters are different, and you should always check the organization's guidelines before you donate (some cannot accept used clothes while others can, for example) but here are some items that are most commonly needed. If you can afford to, consider picking some up and donating them to an organization that works with the homeless:

  • Toiletries, especially travel-sized
  • Feminine hygiene products
  • Razors
  • Baby wipes
  • Socks
  • Underwear
  • Diapers
  • First aid kits
  • Blankets
  • Clothes
  • Hand warmers

Pet Statistics for the United States

Percentage of households with at least one pet 49%
Households with a dog 60.2 million
Households with a cat 47.1 million
Households with freshwater fish 12.5 million
Annual cost of pet food (average) $235
Annual cost of routine vet visits Dogs: $257 Cats: $182
Number of animals that enter shelters each year 6.5 million
Number adopted 3.2 million
Number euthanized 1.5 million
Estimated stray animal population 70 million

Hunger and Homelessness in California

Lessons From Childhood Cancer

In Depth

From San Diego to Santa Barbara, too many people in our communities struggle daily with hardships such as poverty, hunger, illness, and a lack of access to education and healthcare. Thankfully, there are a number of charitable organizations working tirelessly to ensure that nobody has to live without the promise of security and long-lasting wellness. Providing effective care through a range of supportive services, here are, in no particular order, five compassionate groups dedicated to helping communities throughout Southern California.

For #1 we have Serving People In Need. Founded in 1987, SPIN is devoted to helping homeless and working-poor families in Orange County get back on their feet. Through high-quality programs and services focused on nurturing self-sufficiency, it works to connect people in crisis with the resources they need in order to achieve longterm success, welfare, and independence. By offering wide-ranging assistance, SPIN strives to eradicate homelessness and ensure that all children have the chance to grow up in a safe, stable environment.

Available to homeless families who are facing precarious living conditions, SPIN's housing program provides financial support for rapid and transitional rehousing, as well as assistance with rent. It also helps through case management and support services, all of which are designed to address the particular needs of clients' situations. Meanwhile, the Street Services program supplies hundreds of meals every week, and distributes hygiene items, clothing, blankets, and other important amenities to local shelters and centers. Volunteer with SPIN to give your support to families in need.

It also helps through case management and support services, all of which are designed to address the particular needs of clients' situations.

Landing at #2 is Interface Children & Family Services, Ventura County's most comprehensive non-profit social services provider. Attending to low-income and troubled youth, families, and adults, it offers thirty programs in areas such as mental health and trauma treatment, early child and family development, and youth crisis intervention. Interface collaborates with numerous individuals and organizations to facilitate crucial counseling, abuse prevention, family support, and outreach efforts, and maintains a 2-1-1 helpline that assists people throughout the state.

In addition to its designated sites, Interface provides its free services at a multitude of locations across Ventura County, including schools, libraries, homes, and other convenient community areas. Professional support comes in a variety of forms, from therapeutic health and wellness sessions to case management and family violence prevention programs. There are also reentry services for adults on probation, as well as crisis response and emergency shelters for those impacted by domestic abuse or human trafficking. To restore hope and health to people struggling with adversity, make a donation to Interface online.

For #3 we come to Walk With Sally, which gives support and guidance to children who are dealing with the trauma of a loved one's cancer. It seeks to heal, uplift, and empower kids during this difficult time by providing free individualized mentoring, as well as complementary community activities that create opportunities for productive one-on-one and group interactions. To strengthen and broaden its reach, WWS works with myriad organizations across Southern California to offer grief counseling, family referrals, and charity events.

It seeks to heal, uplift, and empower kids during this difficult time by providing free individualized mentoring, as well as complementary community activities that create opportunities for productive one-on-one and group interactions.

With the aim of establishing valuable, health-giving relationships, Walk With Sally's mentor program matches children with adult advocates who share the experience of being impacted by cancer. Over a year-long connection, mentors provide mentees with the guidance and individualized care they require. Together, they join other mentoring pairs and their families in quarterly friendship activities such as whale watching, surfing, and art healing. There are a plethora of ways to get involved with WWS, including starting a fundraising campaign, volunteering, or enrolling a child in need.

At #4 is the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County. Through the distribution of fresh produce and the promotion of nutrition knowledge, this organization commits itself to ending hunger in the area. In partnership with a number of local nonprofits, it brings staple groceries to countywide community locations, and employs mobile farmers' markets and pantries to serve many low-income neighborhoods. Moving beyond the traditional purview of a food bank, it also offers resources and education related to disaster preparedness, environmental sustainability, food literacy, and community relief.

At the heart of the Foodbank's mission to end child hunger is its Feed the Future project, which comprises a series of sequential programs that encourage kids' nutritional health and independence. Designed to engage youth from early childhood to high school, it provides activities such as after-school farmers' markets, free lunches in the park during the summer, and teen cooking classes. Other offerings include the Grocery Rescue Program, which collects and distributes perishable goods that would otherwise go to waste, and the Brown Bag Program, which brings food to financially insecure seniors. Join the fight to end hunger by donating food or hosting a drive.

Join the fight to end hunger by donating food or hosting a drive.

Finally, for #5 we get the Foundation for Animal Care and Education, which provides grants for animal owners who can't afford to pay for their pet's emergency or critical care. Determined to stop economic limitations from claiming the lives of pets, it partners with over 160 veterinary hospitals across San Diego County to create access to essential medical care and education. The Foundation reports that thousands of lives are saved through millions of dollars in granted funds.

As FACE's core service, the Save-A-Life program keeps pets from being euthanized or relinquished by issuing direct grants to partner hospitals on behalf of qualified patients. Reflecting its commitment to the humane care and treatment of animals, the Foundation also offers hands-on educational programs that foster and strengthen human-animal relationships, including a veterinarian club, photography workshops, and Girl Scout activities. In addition, there's a community outreach initiative that helps under-resourced pet owners attain necessary veterinary care and supplies. You can aid FACE and its operations by doing business with any of its partner organizations.