More

Every day, Giving Children Hope gets to witness the hands and hearts that make our work possible – our volunteers. One volunteer won our hearts last year. Andrew is currently an eighth grade student at Parks Junior High and enjoys baseball and math. He first started volunteering at Giving Children Hope as a service project for his school. Loving hands-on projects, Andrew started volunteering in our Giving for Living program putting together furniture. Even after he had completed all his required hours, he decided to volunteer his time, knowing that he was making a difference. He loves that he is able to use his once Lego-building hands to create pieces of furniture for vulnerable families in our community.

Since his time here, he has put together ten pieces of furniture, including chairs and a bookshelf. Though Andrew is one of our youngest volunteers, he definitely has one of the biggest hearts. We are so grateful for Andrew’s dedication to our mission and his commitment to serve those in need.

IMG_5186
Every week, with the help of dedicated volunteers and our amazing school partners, we distribute 1,100 backpacks to families in our We’ve Got Your Back program. Our school partners and liaisons not only identify students who should be in the program, but also act as our champions on each school campus. They are the eyes, listening ears, and encouragement for so many students on their campus who need a little extra support.

Last Wednesday, we hosted our annual We’ve Got Your Back seminar and appreciation luncheon at the Nutrilite facility for the many individuals who help make We’ve Got Your Back successful. During the seminar, our Director of Domestic Programs, Christine Sanchez, shared the goals for our We’ve Got Your Back program. Ultimately, we aim to guide our families to self-sufficiency through the help of pilot programs such as financial literacy classes and mother clubs. School liaisons and partners also participated in a brainstorming session about how to partner together to more holistically serve and invest in the students and families at each school.

Elia Perez, We’ve Got Your Back Administrative Coordinator, shared, “To be gathered in the same room as these amazing school liaisons and partners who are so passionate about changing the lives of the children and families they work with every day and to hear their ideas is so powerful.”

At the Nutrilite-hosted luncheon, school liaisons, volunteers, board members, and corporate sponsors heard a summary of the past year from Sean Lawrence, Giving Children Hope’s Executive Director. He shared stories of the powerful impact that Giving Children Hope has had on so many vulnerable families both across the street and around the world. The keynote speaker, George Esquivel of Esquivel Shoes, emotionally shared a bit of his life story, which is very similar to some of the children in our program. He encouraged those in the audience, calling them “answers to prayers” and urging them to strive to not just be the light in their students’ lives, but lighthouses.

We would like to express our gratitude to Nutrilite for hosting the event and catering the delicious lunch. We would also like to thank our board members who attended, corporate sponsors for their continued support, our faithful volunteers, and our amazing school liaisons, all of whom help us keep our We’ve Got Your Back program successful.

 

20170418_084727Last year, Lupe – a wife, mom, and long time supporter of Giving Children Hope – decided to devote her birthday to our Tackling Child Hunger campaign. In lieu of birthday gifts, she requested that her family and friends donate food to our annual food drive. She states, “it was perfect timing – my birthday month fell right during Tackling Child Hunger.” This year, she’s at it again.

Lupe first became involved with Giving Children Hope after the Haiti earthquake in 2010, which also happened to be right around the time of her daughter’s 5th birthday. Instead of gifts, she and her family asked for monetary donations to help Giving Children Hope’s relief efforts in Haiti. In the end, they collected over $100, which their 5-year-old daughter proudly handed over to our team.

Seven years later and Lupe continues to be a huge part of the Giving Children Hope family, hosting food drives, volunteer events, and giving campaigns. To Lupe, “the idea of helping becomes more real when [she acts] upon it.” And, in turn, giving back has become “more of a habit… more of a normality” for her and her family. Thank you, Lupe, for your passion to serve. We are so proud to tackle child hunger alongside you and your family.

April is not yet over! To find out how you can tackle child hunger, please visit www.givingchildrenhope.org/tacklingchildhunger.

More

Homeboy Industries changes the lives of gang-involved populations in Los Angeles, aiding them with job training, life skills, and mentorship to help them thrive. Recently, Raul Diaz, an employee of Homeboy, stopped by the Giving Children Hope donation center. He told us the story of David, recently released from prison, and who at a very young age “ran the streets”. That eventually led him to juvenile hall, and then incarceration for most of his adult life. Raul explained that for most of David’s life he hungered for love, and even for food.

Raul shared that upon David’s release he began to turn his life around. David now works at Homeboy Industries and volunteers his time at The Garage Board Shop. This skate shop in Los Angeles brings in kids as part of a skate team, “Sk8 4 Educate”, where they must maintain their grades in order to participate.

David volunteers at The Garage Board Shop every day, hanging out with kids and staying past closing hours to help clean up. His impact has been tremendous, Raul testifies. “When he’s walking down the street, you’ll see kids skating by who suddenly stop to say ‘what’s up’: that’s how much he means to them.”

For the first time since his release from prison, David recently moved into his own apartment. His job at Homeboy sustains him, but is not enough to make his apartment a “home”. Raul knew this and came to GCHope’s on-site donation center to see if he could get help. Raul was able to take a coffee maker, dishes, pots and pans, an iron, a comforter, fan, pillows, utensils, dish soap, and a toaster – all meant to turn David’s apartment into a functional living space and thus bringing comfort to a person who has long lived without it.

Raul let us know that “[David] knows the importance of giving children hope”- it’s something that he does daily. We feel privileged not only to help him with basic necessities, but to join him, along with Homeboy Industries and The Garage Board Shop, to continue our mission of impacting children every single day.

12 moms, 6 weeks, a united story of hope. On March 17, 12 We’ve Got Your Back moms proudly held up their certificates as they graduated from our third round of financial literacy classes. For a year now, Giving Children Hope has been offering a financial literacy course for parents who attend our Client Choice Distribution on Friday’s. With all the food that they were receiving on Friday’s, we realized that these families should be the first to no longer need us. We just needed to teach them how.

The course is 6 weeks long and provides insight on budgeting, credit fraud, spending discernment, and more. So far, we’ve had 55 parents graduate from these financial literacy classes and we don’t plan on stopping there. One mom from the most recent graduation stated, “I want to thank Giving Children Hope and its partners immensely for giving me the tools to improve my family’s quality of life. One day, I hope to not need you.” Our ultimate goal is for all 1,100 WGYB families to reach a place of self-sufficiency and financial independence where they can utter the words “I no longer need you.” Until that day, we are committed to offering these classes as the first step out of the cycle of poverty. As our WGYB Administrator Elia expressed, “I can see it in the way they carry themselves that that is not the same woman that started the class 6 weeks ago. To be able to witness that metamorphosis is simply amazing.” Please join us in congratulating our 12 moms who have made this crucial step to truly transform their families’ lives.

Special thanks to Noel from the Raise Foundation for teaching the classes and to Sandy Aguilar from US Bank for putting together the curriculum!

More

It’s 8am on a beautiful Saturday morning, and the day has finally come. For two months, Eastside Christian Church staff and volunteers met with Giving Children Hope to plan for Eastside’s Serve Day – a day reserved for all of Eastside’s church members to go out and serve the community. This year, Eastside chose to host a carnival for our We’ve Got Your Back families.
At 9 am, the carnival rentals arrive at GCHope’s warehouse, and all 110 Eastside volunteers come together to pray for the event and prepare for the families’ arrival. Within an hour, our parking lot is full of WGYB children eager to play and parents eager to watch their children play. There are 10 carnival games, a bounce house, a face-painting station, a photobooth & frame-making station, and food booths scattered across our lot. At around 11 am, we raffle off prizes, including Knott’s Berry Farm tickets donated to us by The City of Buena Park and Dooney & Bourke purses donated to us by Disney. During the last hour, our families line up for Client Choice Distribution, where they pick up food to take to their families for the weekend. With the help of Eastside volunteers, we’re able to help feed 60 families this week.
At 1pm, the crowd dwindles as the families leave the lot, exhausted but fulfilled. One family expresses to an Eastside volunteer, “Thank you. Thank you for everything.” As the Eastside volunteers clean up the GCHope lot, they realize that by giving 5 hours of their time on a Saturday, 155 WGYB students & parents will be reminiscing about this carnival for days to come.
Thank you, Eastside, for being a friend to us and our families. We are honored to partner with a church that puts compassion into action!

On January 31, 2017, Giving Children Hope shipped its 22nd emergency relief container to Syrian refugees in Lebanon. Around 50 community partners and members came together in solidarity to send off the container with prayer and well wishes. The container held pallets of blankets, winter clothing, toys, hygiene products, and medical supplies for children & families living in refugee camps. Thank you to our project partner Witness as Ministry, to ECCU and Good360 who promoted the event, to those who attended the send-off, and to everyone who donated their time and treasure for this cause. We are proud to be part of a compassionate, giving community, helping our most vulnerable survive. Contact us to learn ways you can get involved, and check out ABC7’s coverage of the send-off here:

More

Keith is a die-hard Angels fan, Dhawal loves greeting people with a shy wave, Andy is always smiling, Marco is quiet and sweet, and Syed is attentive and loving. Every day, we are blessed with the joy and energy that this group brings to our We’ve Got Your Back program. Syed, the job coach, has worked as a job coach at Goodwill for 5 years with the same clients, calling them his “second family.” They first started volunteering at Giving Children Hope 4 years ago in Global Operations and then started to volunteer in our We’ve Got Your Back program. For the first 3 hours of their day, they spend their time here sorting food, breaking down cardboard boxes, restocking our shelves, and assisting any corporate volunteers who visit. They then go out for lunch together at one of their favorite restaurants – either McDonald’s or Carl’s Jr. – and end their day either bowling or at another volunteer site.

When we asked Syed what three qualities encompass his group, he answered proudly, “They are extremely hard-working, they love serving the community, and they love sports.” He also told us that they love coming to Giving Children Hope every day, especially because of the friendly staff. Syed says that they are “grateful for the opportunity GCHope gives for [them] to work here.” But in reality, we are the grateful ones. The smiles, waves, hugs, and heart that this group brings to our warehouse are priceless. Thank you, Keith, Dhawal, Andy, Marco, and Syed, for making this world (and our warehouse) a better place!

More

Two rows of vintage cars filled the Praise Chapel parking lot last Saturday as hundreds of families gathered for its annual car show and backpack giveaway. Around 90% of those families were families that we serve through our We’ve Got Your Back program. Two weeks ago, Praise Chapel contacted our organization asking if we had any families who would want backpacks and back-to-school supplies for the upcoming school year. In a heartbeat, we formed a partnership that has now provided over 100 of our students with school supplies. Our families were also treated to brand new Nike shoes, face painting, and free haircuts by Cali Style Barbershop.

WGYB Administrative Coordinator Elia Perez explained, “As a mother, I know how difficult and stressful it can be to prepare your children to go back to school when you have little to no money. To have all those amazing services in one event is such an incredible blessing. They brightened up the first day of school for so many kids who are going to walk into their classroom with so much confidence and pride.”DSC_0076

That day, Praise Chapel provided our families with more than just physical gifts – they provided our families with a glimpse of Christ’s love and a clear reminder that there are people out there who are running alongside them in their race to financial independence.

More

Trojan Battery Company is best known for its top-tier, deep-cycle batteries used in various applications including golf and utility vehicles, renewable energy, floor machines, aerial work platforms, and marine and recreational vehicles. What many people do not know is that Trojan Battery is also a philanthropic company that is very intent on bringing renewable energy to developing countries like Nepal. It didn’t come as a surprise, then, when they reached out to Giving Children Hope so that they could volunteer their time serving underprivileged children. Three employees – Nhi, Stacey, and Rogelio – took two hours of their time every day last week to help distribute food to 100 of our We’ve Got Your Back families. When we asked Nhi, Global Marketing Specialist at Trojan Battery, what the highlight of his week was, he responded with “everything!” He loved “interacting with the families and saw the impact the program had on their lives – it was very powerful” as he handed out bags of food and fresh produce. Within the next three months, out of the goodness of their hearts, they will be reaching out to their friends and families to collect funds for our We’ve Got Your Back program. If that wasn’t enough, Trojan Battery has promised to match up to $500 raised by their employees with an additional $500 from Jeff Elder, CEO of Trojan Battery. It is corporations like Trojan Battery that remind us of the difference that one person or company can make in our families’ lives. Their passion for our mission and their joy as they interacted with our families will always be remembered! Thank you, Trojan Battery!