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Riverside County church assistance programs.

Churches in Riverside, Moreno Valley, Temecula, and other cities help the poor in the county. Dozens of religious organizations provide everything from food to emergency electric bill or rent help, counseling, congregate meals, and immigration services. A local church in Riverside County can be called upon for assistance when all other doors have been closed.

There are over 50 parishes in the county that are involved in assisting the working poor, immigrants, seniors, and the vulnerable. Each of the locations has their own forms of assistance they provide, with income cut-offs, priorities, etc. determined by each church. However any type of help, whether financial or case management, will not factor in the applicant's religion and they often provide Spanish speaking services too.

The most common form of assistance provided is the use of a free food pantry. Amos Temple CME Church (address is 17925 Iris Avenue, Riverside, California, 92508, phone 951-789-8414) supports members of the immediate community. There are donations from the community, including restaurants and stores such as Wal-Mart. The volunteers stock shelves, pass out groceries, and more. Clients can get approximately a 3 day supply of food, and this is for individuals or families in need.

Congregate meal programs from St. Frances of Rome Catholic Church (21591 Lemon Street, Wildomar, CA, 92595, dial 951-674-6881), Fish and Loves and other religious groups feed the poor too. There are also breakfast, lunches, and dinners for the homeless.

Some people in Riverside County have special dietary needs. This may be a senior citizen who needs USDA approved food or a new mom seeking infant formula for a newborn. Many immigrants, including Spanish speakers and those from Mexico, want food from their homeland as well. Churches use the donations to help in these situations as well.

Riverside County church housing and rent assistance programs – These will be for emergencies only. Using funds from weekly tithes, food drives, sale of goods at thrift stores, and other sources there may be help for some families to ensure they do not become homeless. Much of these form of financial support is from referrals, and applicants can use the resources below or find other ways to get help with rent in an emergency.





Sites including Community Mission of Hope (27499 Commerce Center Drive, Temecula, CA, 92590, phone 951-444-1404) have referrals to self-sufficiency resources for tenants as well as the homeless. This may be other social services (Cal-Works, Section 8, etc.) as well as charities. Clients may receive:

-Placement into a church run shelter.
-Temporary rental assistance for a crisis.
-The homeless can be given free blankets, sleeping bags, and other items.
-Migrant farm workers, single moms, and the vulnerable may be placed into transitional housing dedicated for their needs.

All of these housing services will also involve partnerships with parishes on other needs. Arlington United Methodist Church (9395 Magnolia Avenue, Riverside, CA 92503, 951-689-5075) works to provide clothing, food, and other aid to people that receive rent help. This is one example of a church that is focused on a small part of the county, and they only cover residents of the 92503 zip code. Emergency assistance program includes free clothing, hygiene items, diapers, and miscellaneous household stuff.

12 step recover programs – As many as 10 Riverside County Churches offer this service to the community. There are low cost (or even free) support groups to people with addictions, including food, drugs, chemicals, and even work. Cornerstone Community Church (34570 Monte Vista Road Wildomar, CA 92595, dial (951) 674-8661) and many others participate in Celebrate Recovery. This is used to help battle those addictions.

Monetary aid – This is really focused on zip codes. Churches across Riverside County California may not only offer rent help (as noted above) but other assistance. There can be health service referrals to clinics, free ESL classes, information on energy bill assistance in California and limited funds for other emergencies, even including car repairs. SDA Church Community Services (4937 Sierra Vista Ave Riverside, CA 92505, call (951) 354-7095) only helps parish members in the 92505 zip code, and this concept applies to many other local churches.




Still even more one time financial aid may be arranged. Vine Life Christian Fellowship Community Services is also another major provider from their location at 17421 Van Buren Blvd. Riverside, CA 92504 (phone (951) 789-8514). This faith based groups has financial support including emergency food boxes, sack lunches, hygiene packages for homeless, clothing, housing as well as referral to light bill assistance, job search for employment, and even resume creation services. So there are many places to turn to.

Transportation - Our Lady Of The Valley Catholic Church (address - 780 S. State Street Hemet, California 92543, telephone (951) 925-8382) has volunteers that drive seniors to critical appointments. Maybe someone needs a ride to a nearby doctor office for an appointment or pharmacy, or they need meals delivered. This can be arranged as well as other transportation programs. For example, a church may have referrals to a low cost mechanic for car repairs, or they offer bus passes for a job interview.

For more information on resources, dial (951) 955-897. Note that Spanish language translation is sometimes available from these Riverside County churches. They always want to do as much as possible to help families that are struggling and/or living in poverty.



By Jon McNamara

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