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 abinder@cityofirvine.org.

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 abinder@cityofirvine.org

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

Irvine Posts New Web Page Detailing the City’s Efforts to Combat Homelessness

The City of Irvine has posted a new web page detailing the City’s efforts to combat homelessness.

As a member of the Irvine City Council, I’m proud of what we’ve done.

I’m especially proud of our inclusionary housing requirement that 15 percent of all new residential development be affordable to lower-income households.

Irvine City Councilmember Melissa Fox receiving affordable housing award on behalf of the Irvine Community Land Trust

I’m also proud of the City of Irvine’s establishment and funding of the Irvine Community Land Trust, which I am honored to serve as Chair, dedicated to creating affordable housing.

In 2018, we opened Parc Derian, which brings 80 new units of housing for working families, veterans, and special-needs residents of Irvine. Located in the Irvine Business Complex, Parc Derian is a beautiful multifamily community with a pool, tot lot, private parking, exercise center, computer lab, and onsite resident services.

Also in 2018, we began work on Salerno, a new 80-unit rental community. Like Parc Derian, Salerno will provide permanent affordable housing for working families, veterans, and special-needs residents of Irvine.

Significantly, in 2018 we began to develop our first homes for ownership with help from a new partnership with Habitat for Humanity of Orange County. This new Irvine community, called Chelsea on Native Spring, located north of Irvine Boulevard, will include 68 affordable home for sale to income-eligible veterans, working families, and young professionals.

Homes will be sold to first-time homebuyers who earn up to 120 percent of the area’s medium income. In an area where the median home price is $727,000 and average annual income is around $80,000 for a family of four, many people are priced out of the market and face housing and financial uncertainties while trying to build a life in Irvine. The Chelsea on Native Spring project aims to keep those people in Irvine, especially military veterans, teachers, nurses, and young professionals.  It is expected to begin construction in 2019.

In addition to these new projects, we continued in 2018 to provide quality housing and services to 238 households living at Alegre Apartments and Doria Apartment Homes.

In all, that’s 466 households, and more than a thousand people, who can comfortably live, work and raise families in Irvine directly because of the work of the Irvine Community Land Trust.

Irvine Councilmember Melissa Fox and other officials listen to a homeless man at the Santa Ana riverbed.

In fact, over the past 30 years, Irvine has developed more affordable housing for families and individuals at risk of homelessness than any other city in Orange County.

Irvine has also provided over $6.7 million in grant funding to nonprofit organizations for homelessness prevention programs.

I am proud too of our Irvine Police Department’s approach to homelessness, which employs a dedicated team of Mental Health and Homeless Liaison Officers and is characterized by compassion and concern for those suffering from economic hardship, mental illness, and addiction.

The City has established a dedicated email address, outreach@cityofirvine.org, to address homelessness in Irvine. If you know someone in need of services, or if you have a question related to homelessness in Irvine, please contact us.

Irvine has also partnered with several non-profit community organizations — including Families Forward, Second Harvest Food Bank, FOR FAMILIES, Human Options, Second Chance OC, South County Outreach and StandUp for Kids — to help people experiencing housing insecurity or homelessness.

Please read the web page to see all we’re doing.

Of course, more needs to be done to resolve the homelessness crisis and alleviate the human suffering we see around us throughout Orange County.

While I’m proud of all we’ve done in Irvine, I’m also dedicated to doing more.

I’ve traveled to Sacramento to convince our legislators to reform the tax code to make it easier to build affordable housing.

I’ve traveled to San Antonio, Texas, and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to see possible solutions in action.

We need more affordable housing and more attainable housing.

We need more mental health services.

Irvine Councilmember Melissa Fox and Community Services Commission Chair Lauren Johnson-Norris attending conference at Haven of Hope in San Antonio on helping people suffering homelessness.

We need real regulation and supervision of so-called sober living homes that heartlessly dump untreated addicts into our communities when their money runs out.

No area of the nation has been more adversely impacted by these unregulated and profiteering sober living homes than Orange County.

We need to work with responsible non-profit community and faith organizations to find real solutions to the growing crisis of drug and alcohol abuse.

Homelessness is a both humanitarian crisis and a public health crisis that we can not ignore or simply pretend to legislate out-of-existence. Helping our homeless population will require a concerned, regional, and state-funded approach that both provides safe temporary shelter and effective, humane solutions of the root causes of homelessness.

Let’s working together to achieve these goals and truly resolve the homelessness crisis.

 

Irvine’s New Incredible Edible Farm to Help Feed Orange County’s Hungry

incredible.edible.farm.01

The Incredible Edible Farm — a new 4.5 acre urban farm at the Orange County Great Park that will grow produce for the hungry to be harvested by volunteers from Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County — is great for Irvine, great for the Great Park, and great for our community!

The Incredible Edible Farm is the transformation of the City of Irvine’s Incredible Edible Park, which was created in 1999 and located on an easement under Southern California Edison power lines off Harvard Avenue in Irvine, into something even better.

The new Incredible Edible Farm is expected to produce 144 tons (288,000 lbs.) of food per year – more than double the yield of the old Incredible Edible Park – enough food for an additional 156,000 meals for Orange County’s needy families.

Broccoli, cauliflower, onions, kale, and a variety of other vegetables will be grown at the Incredible Edible Farm and harvested by volunteers from Second Harvest Food Bank who donate thousands of hours of their time each year to provide food for the hungry throughout Orange County.

The Incredible Edible Farm is located just behind the Great Park’s Sunday Farmers Market.

If you are interested in volunteering at the Incredible Edible Farm, please call Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County at 949-653-2900.  Volunteers of all ages are needed to plant, maintain and harvest crops for the hungry.  

Join the Great Park Halloween Pumpkin Harvest!

its-the-great-park-balloon-pumpkin

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 http://www.ocgp.org/ or call 866-829-3829.

I hope to see you there!

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