Helping Each Other in a Time of Crisis: Here are Some Organizations that Could Use Your Help Now.

Over the last several months during the COVID-19 crisis, Second Harvest Food Bank and OC Food Bank have seen record volumes of food distribution.  As the crisis continues, it is likely that the demand for food assistance will continue to increase.

I participated today in a food drive today in support of Save Our Youth (SOY).  The food drive was sponsored by my friend, Assemblymember Cottie Petrie-Norris, who represents California’s 74th Assembly District. Thank you, Cottie, for this opportunity to help others!

As we work together to fight back against COVID-19, there are many volunteer organizations in our community looking for additional resources and support.  In particular, many families in Orange County are in need of food.  Blood centers are also in urgent need.

Here are some organizations that could use your help right now:

Community Action Partnership of Orange County (CAPOC) w/ Orange County Food Bank

11870 Monarch St.

Garden Grove, CA 92841

(714) 897-6670

Possible volunteer tasks: Box and deliver lunches.

Meals on Wheels Orange County

1200 N Knollwood Circle

Anaheim, CA 92801

(714) 220-0224

Possible volunteer tasks: Drivers and donations.

Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County

8014 Marine Way

Irvine, CA 92618

(949) 653-2900

Possible volunteer tasksHarvest Truck Brigade, Field Distribution Team, Donations.

Red Cross (Desert to the Sea Region)

Multiple locations: please visit the website for a location close to you.

Possible volunteer tasks: Blood donation.

Pathways of Hope

1231 E Chapman Avenue

Fullerton, CA 92831

(714) 680-3691

Possible volunteer tasksTransporting, sorting, stocking food.

During this time of crisis, it is important that we all look out for our fellow community members.

If you have any questions or need assistance connecting to other community resources, please contact my Senior Executive Assistant, Alli Binder at

See also: My up-to-date COVID-19 Resources and Information Page.

Please wear a mask in public and practice social distancing. Let’s work together to stop the spread of COVID-19 so we can all return to work, school, and our normal lives!

Our Community Food Banks Need Your Help!

Our community food banks need your help! 

Over the last several weeks during the COVID-19 crisis, Second Harvest Food Bank and OC Food Bank have seen record volumes of food distribution.  As the crisis continues, it is likely that demand will continue to increase. 

Both of our local community food banks are urgently requesting support from the community so that they are able to accommodate the increased demand for food assistance. 

It is essential that community members who are able to assist our community food banks do what they can during this time of great need.  

If you are able, here is what you can do to help: 

Second Harvest Food Bank Orange County

Second Harvest Food Bank (located in Irvine, serving all of Orange County) is accepting donations on the organization’s web page here. You can make a one-time contribution for as low as $25 or if you prefer, you can set up recurring contributions to help Second Harvest get through the COVID-19 crisis.

For more information and updates about drive-thru food distribution centers visit the Second Harvest Facebook page here

OC Food Bank

OC Food Bank (located in Garden Grove, serving all of Orange County) is encouraging all who are able to host a virtual food drive. Members of the community can host a virtual food drive without leaving their homes. All it takes is three easy steps; create a virtual food drive page, personalize your page, and then share your page with family and friends encouraging them to contribute to the cause. For more information and to set up your own virtual food drive visit the OC Food Bank website here.

You can also get the latest updates from OC Food Bank on the organization’s Facebook page here

During this time of crisis, it is important that we all look out for our fellow community members. 

If you have any questions or need assistance connecting to other community resources, please contact my Senior Executive Assistant, Alli Binder at

See also: My up-to-date COVID-19 Resources and Information Page.

Happy Martin Luther King Day! National Day of Service: Volunteer Opportunities in Irvine and Orange County

“The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice.” — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“We must learn to live together as brothers or perish together as fools.” — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“Power without love is reckless and abusive, and love without power is sentimental and anemic. Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice, and justice at its best is power correcting everything that stands against love.” — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, What are you doing for others?” Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

“Everybody can be great … because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.” — Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

In 1994, Congress passed the King Holiday and Service Act, designating the Martin Luther King Jr. Federal Holiday as a National Day of Service.

Taking place each year on the third Monday in January, the MLK National Day of Service is the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service – a “day on, not a day off.”  It calls for Americans from all walks of life to work together to provide solutions to our most pressing national and community problems.

There are many opportunities for service in Irvine and Orange County.

Click here to see our City of Irvine website special section on volunteer opportunities.

Among the many Irvine organizations that need volunteer service are: the Irvine Animal Care Center, Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), Farm + Food Lab at the Great Park, Irvine Fine Arts Center, the Irvine Global Village Festival, High School Youth Action Team, Irvine 2/11 Marine Adoption Committee, Meals on Wheels, and Senior Centers.

In addition, Irvine Gives is a comprehensive online resource to help locate the giving opportunities you seek.

If you want to donate time, money or materials, clicking on Irvine Gives is a great place to start.

There are also many opportunities for service in greater Orange County.

A terrific local organization for service is the Community Action Partnership of Orange County.  The Community Action Partnership is dedicated to enhancing the quality of life in Orange County by eliminating and preventing poverty. Volunteers are a key element of the Community Action Partnership’s to bring hope and resources to those who need help the most.  You can make a difference by caring and taking action.  Contact them at 714-897-6670.

One of the main activities of the Community Action Partnership is the Orange County Food Bank.

The OC Food Bank works with nearly 400 local charities, soup kitchens, and community organizations to end hunger and malnutrition by providing donated food, USDA commodities, and purchased food to non-profit agencies in Orange County that serve low-income families and individuals.

Annually, the OC Food Bank is able to distribute more than 20 million pounds of food. The OC Food Banks is located at 11870 Monarch Street, Garden Grove, CA 92841. You can also contact them by phone at 714-897-6670.

Other organizations providing great service opportunities in Orange County are the Orange County Rescue Mission (714-441-8090) and the United Way (949-263-6125).  The United Way website lists many opportunities to help people in need throughout Orange County.

Volunteering is a wonderful way to give back to our community and directly help those in need.

Thank you for your service to our community!

Join the Great Park Halloween Pumpkin Harvest!


During Halloween, Irvine is home to the largest jack-o’-lantern in Orange County – and probably the State of California and even the nation – when the famous orange Great Park Balloon transforms into the 100 feet tall and 72 feet in diameter Great Park Jack-O-Lantern.

On Saturday, October 26, from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM, the Great Park Jack-O-Lantern’s gigantic grinning face will looking down on the sixth annual Great Park Pumpkin Harvest.

One of the Great Park’s most popular events, the sixth annual Pumpkin Harvest features a variety of activities and family entertainment, including free pumpkins from the Great Park Pumpkin Patch for all children 12 and under, while supplies last.  Costumes are encouraged for children and adults alike!  Visitors to the Pumpkin Harvest can take a train ride, explore the petting zoo and pick up goodies in the Trick-or-Treat Town. Children can enter a scavenger hunt, participate in the harvest walk, and enjoy the Harvest puppet show. Visitors can also enjoy cooking demonstrations, wander through the hay maze and enjoy selections from local gourmet food trucks.

This year, the Pumpkin Harvest will also serve to kick off the Great Park’s month-long food drive.  Visitors to the Pumpkin Harvest who donate canned goods or non-perishable food items will receive a special wristband good for access to extra treat stations on “Good Witch Lane.” Visitors are also encouraged to bring canned or non-perishable food items whenever they visit the Great Park from October 26 through November 24. Collection bins will be located at the Sunday Farmers Market and the Great Park Visitors Center. The Great Park Food Drive benefits Second Harvest Food Bank and the Orange County Food Bank.

Enjoy the family friendly Halloween fun at our sixth annual Great Park Pumpkin Harvest – and don’t forget to bring canned or non-perishable food items for donation when you visit!

What: Great Park Halloween Pumpkin Harvest
When: Saturday, October 26, 2013, from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM
Where: Orange County Great Park
Cost: Admission is free. Parking is $10.

The Orange County Great Park is located at Sand Canyon and Marine Way, and is easily reached by the 5 or 405 freeways.  Driving directions to the Great Park Pumpkin Harvest: Exit 5 or 405 Freeway at Jeffrey Road and head east to Trabuco Road. Follow traffic signs to event parking.  For more information, please visit or call 866-829-3829.

I hope to see you there!

[Photo of the Great Park Jack-O-Lantern by Quan Ha and Used by permission.]