Giving Children Hope for the Holidays

Cathy Baek, Communications Coordinator, joined GCHope for a more fullfing job (Cathy Lee Taylor)

Cathy Lee Taylor

The Associated Student Government at Saddleback College generously donated canned goods at Thanksgiving to an organization that has been doing critical community work for over 19 years – the Giving Children Hope (GCHope) organization based in Buena Park, CA.
GCHope estimates there are over 28,000 children in Orange County who are considered homeless (according to the McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act), and many of these children go without enough to eat. Their “We’ve Got Your Back” program supports more than 4,000 children every week by delivering backpacks full of canned goods, cereal, juice etc., to their schools so these kids have food to take home for the weekend.
For the Christmas holiday season, GCHOPE runs a Toy Drive and as many as 150 volunteers come every week to wrap, pack and distribute toys to kids. To donate go to They hope to give out 4,000 gifts this year from the children’s wish lists.
Cathy Baek, Communications Coordinator, recently joined the GCHope team leaving a job in the media to do something more rewarding. “I wanted something more fulfilling.”
People who want to rate a charity to be sure where their money is going, can go to “We have a 4-star rating which is the highest you can get,” Baek said.
Cathy recently joined Giving Children Hope’s team. She is in charge of all the communications. Her focus is on raising awareness of this organization and she said that social media is a very powerful tool, “I use blogging, Facebook, newsletters and email.”
GCHope began in 1993 when John Ditty, founder and Chairman of the Board, and his wife wanted to adopt a child from Russia. He discovered a great need for medical supplies and devised a way to distribute these critical supplies through a nonprofit from his garage.
GCHope currently sends medical supplies and equipment internationally where needed. This organization also supports the American military families including wounded warriors and families of active military workers by supplying shipments of household goods, linens, etc.
The Buena Park Community clinic, in partnership with the Illumination Foundation that provides doctors, currently operates in a mobile van operated by GCHope that supplies medical practitioners and supplies for the local community.
They plan to have a stand-alone clinic open and fully functioning in 2013 that will give low-income families services such as: physical exams, diagnosis and treatment, as well as health prevention and education. They will also expand their services to include dental and vision.
When other agencies such as homeless shelters and nonprofit partner organizations and churches need supplies, GCHope provides them the ability to obtain through their “Giving for Living” program.
Other areas of the country that GCHope is currently supporting include Haiti where they estimated they have reached 103,000 people, and Syria where they have sent medical supplies, bandages, wheelchairs, vitamins and other relief items to Jordan where over 200,000 refugees are being housed.

Suggested donations include: cereal, canned fruit, peanut butter and jelly, macaroni and cheese, trail mix, canned soup, canned vegetables, instant rice, beans, canned meat and 100% fruit juice. To host a food drive, contact

If you want to volunteer your time, contact

Cathy Baek can be reached at

To support this organization that delivers 99.5% of every dollar to program services and 0.5% toward management and fundraising, please visit their website at

Volunteers packing backpacks for the kids (Cathy Lee Taylor)

Hundreds of volunteers come every week to aid GCHope (Cathy Lee Taylor)

Mobile clinic provides medical practitioners and supplies for the local community (Cathy Lee Taylor)

(Angie L. Pineda)

The “thank you” letters given to volunteers and staff from children. (Angie L. Pineda)

(Angie L. Pineda)

The Giving Hope volunteers filling up backpacks with food. (Angie L. Pineda)

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