There are dozens of assistance programs administered by churches in San Diego County. Most of the parishes are involved in providing only a few services to members of the community, as resources are limited. But a church may offer everything from free toys to USDA food, gas vouchers for doctor appointments, toiletries, and even financial help for expenses such as rent or electric bills.
Since the amount of support is limited, volunteers at parishes including Chula Vista Church of God often give referrals to the working poor. As while dozens of assistance programs may be offered, most sites only offer maybe one or two resources to the general public.
There is a specific focus on people from San Diego County that are out of all other options or that are desperate. Maybe they have done everything they can to get job, or their section 8 rent assistance voucher has been canceled. Or if someone is sick or maybe their spouse died, these are some of the many instances in which a church can help.
Supplies can often be given. Christ Temple Apostolic Church International Ministries (at 309 Prescott Avenue, El Cajon, CA, 92020, call 619-937-0197) is one of the sites that has a low cost (or free in some cases) thrift store. The ministry offers free food, clothes for work or school, and personal hygiene supplies. The poor, or people in a crisis (such as sick or domestic violence survivors) can be given free items. While it may not be much, offering these types of items will free up the client's income for other expenses, such as their mortgage, rent, or utilities.
While a church will not generally turn anyone away, these thrift stores do rely on donations from the public. So the inventory is limited. If the parish does not have what a person may need, or if the store is closed, then they will do their best to redirect the client to another local charity. This is how someone can learn about resources such as rental assistance or other programs.
San Diego County churches help people overcome their hardship too. Places including Ocean View Church (address 2460 Palm Avenue, San Diego, CA, 92154, phone 619-424-7870) coordinate recovery programs for dependencies. It is not just limited to drugs or alcohol, but other barriers including divorce, codependency, smoking, abandonment, unemployment, job placement, and much more is covered. Some locations also provide immigration services under this form of “hardship” help as well.
Volunteers from the community often hold these sessions with the parish. Generally the sessions are free to attend, and they may be advertised in a newspaper or at the mass itself. The topics covered in San Diego County are also usually tailored more for the needs of that part of the state, and may touch on the following.
Santa Sophia Church (location 9800 San Juan Street, Spring Valley, California, 91977, call (619) 463-6629) as well as other members of Saint Vincent de Paul may offer financial help in San Diego County. Depending on the clients income and financial shape, this assistance is available either in the form of loans or a free grant, which does not need to be paid back.
This form of aid is generally referred to as social services. Parishes raise money in different ways. Some use tithes from members of the church. Others hold fund raisers, such as by selling food, holding raffles, or reaching out to local corporations. No matter the approach, the funds are used by the poor and vulnerable for paying their bills. Another place for information is Chula Vista Church of God (address 456 Fifth Avenue, Chula Vista, CA, 91910, phone 619-420-3620).
There may be money available for paying rental expenses. If this is done, the assistance is given directly to the landlord. Other uses of church based aid may be to pay light or energy bills, or there is support for health care and medical needs, especially for immigrants and the elderly. Job seekers can be given grant money to pay for bus passes, and gasoline vouchers are also available. All forms of assistance as well as grants for helping with bills are given by faith based groups in San Diego County.
When someone applies for social services, or rent help, they often need food too. So the Imperial Beach United Methodist Church as well as programs such as the Broken Loaf Food Pantry are used. The location is (455 Palm Avenue, Imperial Beach, CA, 91932, phone 619-424-5181). In general, many parishes have pantries for feeding the poor.
The assistance is usually ongoing. So it can can feed the family from January to December, and there is seasonal support too. The Rock Church (1685 Hollister Street, San Diego, California, 92154) is one such program. This particular parish not only gives free groceries, but they have Thanksgiving or Christmas meals, toys, and many other items. Registration will be required for the seasonal services.
The homeless in San Diego County can get help from places such as Urban Street Angels at Mission Gathering Church (3090 Polk Avenue, San Diego, CA, (619) 624-9335). This site, and many others in the community, offer a homeless shelter and support services as well. The goal is to help people going through a financial crisis, and that may have been evicted or had their lights turned off, ensure they have a safe place to stay. Clients can also be given a hot meal, information on clothing closets, learn about security deposit or rent programs, and other aid.
San Diego County immigration services are often organized by churches. One location is at 4575 Mission Gorge Pl, San Diego, California 92120 (dial (619) 287-1270). The services are offered in many languages, including Spanish, Mandarin, Japanese, and much more. The topics are as follows. There is Employment authorization, Legal Aid, help for Naturalization/Citizenship, Social Services including housing and medical programs, Violence Against Women, and many other topics.
Note much if this is not free. But the help for immigrants may come with a minimal cost, such as on processing paperwork, classes, and many other issues. Volunteers also give information to anyone seeking it.
There is one faith based group that also helps with medical needs, and The Rock Church C.A.R.E. Program assists with cancer. Address is 2277 Rosecrans Street, San Diego, California, 92106 (phone (619) 226-7625). The only help with cancer bills and those impacted by this disease, volunteers may drive the patient to chemotherapy appointments or other doctor appointments. There is also housekeeping done, meal delivery in San Diego County, support groups, and even financial assistance. Counseling and support is also given to the entire family.
Referrals can be given to those seeking a church in San Diego County. More information is available at (800) 227-0997.
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