Haas Foundation Donates More than $1 Million to Charitable and Education Based Programs
Posted May 14, 2013 in the Ventura County Star
OXNARD, Calif. — The Gene Haas Foundation today announced $200,000 in additional grant recipients, bringing total donations to Ventura County nonprofits in 2013 to $249,000, and totaling more than $1 million nationally.
The funds benefit a variety of programs, large and small, with a focus on educational scholarships, youth development and helping organizations that serve the most needy. Most recent Ventura County grants included a $50,000 to FOOD Share for a hybrid truck, $35,000 to Ventura County Rescue Mission to purchase a new oven, $25,000 in scholarships to Casa Pacifica’s former foster youth to attend college or trade school, and $25,000 to RAIN, a transitional living center to help alleviate homelessness. Read entire article (PDF)
Rescue missions see rising demand for assistance
By Rachel McGrath
Posted December 21, 2012 in the Ventura County Star
The number of newly homeless people in Ventura County is up this holiday season from a year ago, with 35 percent of those seeking help at gospel rescue missions having lost housing within the past six months.
Other results of the just-released 2012 Snapshot Survey show that half of those looking for assistance at the Ventura County Rescue Mission and Lighthouse for Women & Children, both in Oxnard, are homeless for the first time and almost half of those have been the victim of physical violence in the past 12 months.
"It has significantly changed," said John Saltee, director of the Ventura County Rescue Mission at 234 E. Sixth St. "We are in miserable times for people who were once housed and are now homeless.
"We know people are barely hanging on from paycheck to paycheck due to the lack of quality jobs and the high cost of rent. People who once had a place to live and a car are struggling to find somewhere to go. Desperation leads to anger, and more desperate times lead to more violence. It's going to get worse before it gets better." Read entire article (PDF)...
Retailer collecting coats, blankets
Posted December 22, 2012 in the Ventura County Star
Retailer Buffalo Exchange will work with Ventura County Rescue Mission to collect coats and blankets for the needy. Individuals are encouraged to drop off coats and blankets at 532 E. Main St. Business hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday through Saturday.
Items will be collected through Jan. 13. For more information, call 648-6873.
At toy giveaway in Oxnard, volunteers fulfill mission of making Christmas brighter
By Mark Storer
Posted December 22, 2012 in the Ventura County Star
Edith and Ricardo Mendoza braved the low 40-degree weather and lined up with other like-minded children and parents at 5 a.m. Saturday morning at Faith Community Church in Oxnard.
"They had a lot of energy, and they're not sleepy yet," said the 12- and 8-year-olds' mother, Martha. "They came with our neighbor, and then I came and met them here."
Edith and Ricardo were among the children who had registered within the last month for the Ventura County Rescue Mission and Lighthouse for Women & Children's annual Christmas celebration and toy giveaway. The event, which didn't open until 9 a.m., was designed to help families who otherwise might not be able to provide Christmas gifts for their children.
"Things are pretty tough right now," Edith and Ricardo's mother said. "After rent, food, bills and everything, it's hard to buy presents."
The mission aims to make Christmas brighter for families like these.
"Our goal is that every child gets a toy free of charge," said John Saltee, director of the mission. "We get donations and we use a portion of our budget to buy the toys, and then we register families starting just after Thanksgiving. They have to prove that they're on assistance of some kind, and then each child gets a ticket and they bring that to the event." Read entire article (PDF)...
30 volunteer at rescue mission
By Andrea Howry, Lighthouse editor
Posted November 28, 2012
Thirty Sailors from Naval Base Ventura County, including Chief Staff Officer David Sasek and Command Master Chief Thomas Cyr, were among the 150 volunteers who showed up at the Ventura County Rescue Mission in Oxnard Wednesday, Nov. 21, to serve 800 meals to county families who wouldn’t otherwise have a Thanksgiving feast.
“We are so appreciative that the military is willing to give up a day and come help the community,” said John Saltee, director of the rescue mission. “We are so pleased with the turnout.”
Sasek and Cyr were among several local dignitaries at one buffet table serving food onto plates that were then taken to the families seated at picnic tables all over the rescue mission property.
Another buffet table was staffed by Sailors in their khaki uniforms, while more Sailors shuttled steaming plates of food to the hungry families.
While serving didn’t begin until noon, several volunteers came as early as 10:30 a.m. to help with behind-the-scenes work, from wrapping plastic tableware in napkins and tying them with orange yarn to setting out drinking cups filled with ice.
A dozen other volunteers from the base visited the rescue mission the day before to help set up for Wednesday’s feast.
“It’s important to help out,” said Construction Electrician 3rd Class Bryan Sheridan of Naval Mobile Construction Battalion (NMCB) 3. “We all need to give something back.”
Added Logistics Specialist 2nd Class Ivy Jane Ibarra, also of NMCB 3, “We have a lot of things to be thankful for. We need to give, too.”
Five volunteers came from Naval Branch Health Clinic, including Hospital Corpsman 1st Class Starleen Whitaker.
“I wanted to help support the needy,” she said. “I like reaching out to the community.”
Lt. Cmdr. Jeffrey Han, base chaplain, said the Religious Ministries Team organizes several volunteer opportunities at the rescue mission every year.
“This is important because it’s Thanksgiving,” he said. “But it’s important to volunteer the other 364 days of the year as well.”
Expressions of gratitude permeate Ventura County Rescue Mission meal
By Mark Storer
Wednesday, November 21, 2012 in the Ventura County Star
John Saltee was reminiscing about last year's Thanksgiving banquet as he stood watching a steady stream of people file in for this year's event at the Ventura County Rescue Mission in Oxnard.
"The Tuesday before, our director of food services came to me and told me we were about 60 pies short," said Saltee, director of the mission. "I told her I didn't have the budget to buy 60 pies, so I asked for the chaplains to come in, and we prayed together. I was out of options at that point."
The next day, on the mission's usual run to Costco to gather items that the store donates, a manager approached the mission's truck driver and asked him if he needed pies.
"The driver accepted them, thinking it would be 10 or 15 pies. A forklift came out with a pallet of 80 pies," Saltee said. "It's amazing how God cares for the poor."
The Ventura County Rescue Mission handed out about 1,000 meals Wednesday for its annual Thanksgiving banquet, seating guests at tables that filled the alley behind the mission on Sixth Street.
"We feed whoever comes and needs a meal," said Becky Saltee, the director's wife and a frequent volunteer at the mission. "We have 77 men who live here and are enrolled in our program, and we serve about 800 meals every day for the poor and needy here, but today is a special day."
The mission gets its funding exclusively from donations and its thrift stores and receives no government funding, Becky Saltee said.
Ventura County groups plan Thanksgiving meals
By Anne Kallas
Posted November 19, 2012, in the Ventura County Star
After giving last-minute instructions to the Seabees who had offered to spruce up the Ventura County Rescue mission by doing painting and repairs, community relations coordinator Suzanne West reflected: "It's like having Thanksgiving dinner where you have 1,000 people coming. You have to start cleaning."
The Ventura County Rescue Mission, at 234 E. 6th St. in Oxnard, will serve 800 to 1,000 dinners at noon Wednesday to all comers. In Ventura, a coalition of churches and the Salvation Army is putting on the One City One Meal Thanksgiving Day at the Ventura County Fairgrounds. Organizers expect up to 1,000 guests.
Jim Duran, lead pastor at River Community Church in Ventura and newly named executive director of Ventura's Project Understanding, said this year's dinner is at the fairgrounds after having outgrown the San Buenaventura Knights of Columbus Council 2498 hall two years ago.
One City One Meal is a project of the Salvation Army, Ventura Missionary church, River Community Church and Project Understanding. The sponsor is the downtown Rotary Club of Ventura, and Duran said the fairgrounds offered the facility at a discount rate.
"We've been doing Thanksgiving dinners in Ventura for years," Duran said, adding that he has helped out for at least nine years and has seen the event in various forms at the Majestic Ventura Theater, the old Elks Lodge on Ash Street and the old American Legion Post building on Palm Street. Read entire article (PDF)...
Students at CSUCI ask organizations about needs...
By Rachel McGrath
Thursday, November 1, 2012 in the Ventura County Star
Members of CSU Channel Islands' oldest honor society are trying to help homeless people in the run-up to Thanksgiving.
Students in Gamma Beta Phi are collecting items on campus that will be donated to Lighthouse for Women and Children's Emergency Shelter in Oxnard, Our Place Shelter in Ventura and Interface Children and Family Services in Camarillo.
"We decided to ask the centers what they really need," said Erlinda Laska, 23, who's in the university's nursing program.
The group has a Facebook page on which it posts updates and has distributed fliers around campus, Laska said. It also has encouraged other organizations on campus to participate."
Laska proposed holding an awareness event, and the president Gamma Beta Phi, Dallas Lawry, embraced the idea as a way of raising the profile of the honor society, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary this academic year.
"I live in Ventura, and I see homeless populations," said Lawry, 20, also a nursing student. "I want to give back to my own community. I believe that's where the real change starts." (Read entire story, PDF...)