New seasonal jobs available: Helping the less fortunate around the holidays

People interested in charity should help out all year around not just the holidays (Anibal Santos)

Joseph Espiritu

Each year as winter rolls in holiday norms begin to appear.  Seasonal coffees join Christmas trees, lights adorn buildings and people start giving.

But, despite the increase in individuals, organizations and communities who donate goods, money and time during this season of giving – those suffering from homelessness and poverty are constantly faced with hunger and hardships whether it be a warm summer day or a cold night in December.

The American Family Housing estimates that there are approximately 35,000 people in Orange County who are homeless at any given year.  During the county’s Homeless Census and Survey, which was taken in late January 2011 – workers counted 6,939 homeless living in shelters and out in the streets.

Karlie Noyes who is the lead housing supervisor for the Friendship Shelter in Laguna Beach said that there is definitely an increase in people donating and coming in to volunteer during the holidays, citing that during the holiday season is when they get the most donations that helps them provide throughout the entire year.

“The shelter is at maximum capacity, providing food, clothing and shelter to 32 individuals everyday,” Noyes said.

A city away in Dana Point, two homeless 20-year-old men admitted that acquiring food and clothing is a bit easier during the fall and early winter months, saying they see an influx of people being in the mood to give.

Poverty, unlike seasons do not come and go, but rather are a constant part of daily life for many individuals and families here, locally. And while the holidays might help sell the idea of donating and giving back, it should be made part of a year-round effort and not just when the turkeys and mistletoes come by.