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I should start by apologizing to any faithful readers that still remain, even though I’ve pretty much disappeared on the blogging front.  I claimed I was taking a hiatus on the Charity of the Month circuit for a month or two, and here we are, almost a full year later!  Eek.

I realized after a while of not writing that I just haven’t had made the time to do the more in-depth interview and write up that I enjoyed doing for a while.  This was followed by the realization that I don’t have to make the time to interview a member of the charity (as much as I’ve enjoyed doing that).  The whole point when I started this section of the blog was to introduce readers to charities or organizations that I think are worth sharing–it doesn’t mean it has to be a crazy in depth presentation of the organization.  So here we are, almost a year later, trying to get this up and started again by just sharing a little “introduction,” if you may, about organizations that I have come across.

This month I’ve chosen to share Illumination Foundation, which is a local Orange County organization “dedicated to breaking the cycle of homelessness through comprehensive services for the most underserved families.”

Some interesting numbers shared on their Facebook page:

The Homeless Crisis in Orange County

  • 21,000 – 35,000 homeless people in Orange County
  • Over 26,000 Orange County public school students are living in unstable housing conditions
  • 3,400 shelter beds have high-entry qualifications that leave homeless people on the streets.

Root Cause:

  • A critical shortage of affordable permanent housing
  • A minimum wage worker has to work 125 hours/week to afford a one-bedroom apartment
  • A shortage of affordable housing for renters can instigate a cycle of poverty

Followed by a few more facts found on their website:

  • 1 in 6 children live in poverty
  • 1 in 20 children are unstably housed – the highest percentage in CA
  • 28,000 public school students live in unstable housing
  • Half of all adults below the poverty line are employed
  • An individual earning minimum wage has to work 128 hours/week to afford a one-bedroom apartment

Living where we live, I think it’s very easy for most of us to forget or pay little attention to homelessness and how big of an issue this can really be.  In my daily routine I might see one or two people along El Toro, but I certainly don’t imagine that there are thousands of other individuals just like that one person, who have no where to go.

Illumination Foundation addresses these needs by providing many needed programs.  These include:

  • Motel families outreach
  • Mobile medical outreach
  • Emergency/triage housing
  • Permanent housing program
  • Interim supporting shelter
  • Workforce development
  • Recuperative care program
  • Medical home
  • Mobile eye care clinic

Each of these programs address a large need that has been largely unmet.  Unlike some other organizations that I’ve featured throughout the years, this organization is close and local enough for you to really get involved!

Illumination Foundation has a great page detailing the many, many ways that you can get involved locally, from neighborhood clean ups, to volunteering at one of their clinics. They also take clothing donations, and from now until August 14th, they are seeking donations for new school supplies.

illumination foundation school supplies

There is also a major fundraiser taking place on August 17th, you can attend the event and/or volunteer at the event:

illumination foundation carnival volunteers

“No one can do everything, but everyone can do something.”