This holiday season, at-risk kids and families in need will enjoy a hearty helping of turkey, mashed potatoes, and stuffing, thanks to an initiative called Bringing Hope to the Table. Saddleback Church and Ralphs grocery stores are working together with a program called G.R.I.P. (Gang Reduction Intervention Partnership) with the O.C. District Attorney’s Office, O.C Law Enforcement and participating local elementary and middle schools.
During these difficult economic times, over 600,000 Orange County residents are estimated to be at risk for hunger. Saddleback Church has implemented the Good Neighbor program to show love to the local community in need; it has also successfully partnered with G.R.I.P. for past endeavors. G.R.I.P. specifically focuses on children in 4th through 8th grade, taking a proactive approach to reducing gang crime in Orange County. Various government agencies work with parents and schools to identify youth potentially in harm’s way and then use tools such as counseling, mentor programs, incentives, and parent education to help steer kids away from trouble.
Bringing Hope to the Table was a success last year, with roughly 40,000 people benefiting from the program. The process is simple: Saddleback Church volunteers sign up for a two-hour weekend shift between October 20 and November 11 at their local Ralph’s. They then greet customers who enter the grocery store, hand out information cards, and promote awareness about the program. Customers can then choose to donate $1, $5 or $10 at the register during check out. Ralph’s uses the donated funds to provide holiday meals for families in need. The food is distributed to these families by Saddleback volunteers and G.R.I.P. officials. Additionally, the Ralph’s Orange County Food Bank Drive will also provide a generous donation to the Saddleback Food Pantry in January.
Bringing Hope to the Table is a simple and wonderful way for families, friends, or small groups to work together with the community to make a difference this holiday season. Those interested in volunteering can learn more about the program by emailing: firstname.lastname@example.org.