Mar 21, 2016
Operation Helping Hands is a non-profit organization which started in 2011 with the multipurpose goal to have local youth personally deliver essential hygiene and necessity items to the homeless. The vast majority of the homeless population served by OHH are military veterans and/or youth who were affiliated with foster care.
OHH was founded by Kim Valentine, an attorney based in Irvine, CA who at various points of her life experienced homelessness first hand, lived in foster care, and has served as an active duty United States Marine. Kim believed the homeless would feel less threatened to approached from young adults. Moreover, her projects were designed to actively involve the community by allowing them to give back in many different ways. OHH backpacks can be found in many local businesses that host “Baskets of backpacks.” Those locations are found Judicate West in Santa Ana, Purcell Law in Santa Ana, Chambers, Noronha & Kubota in Santa Ana, Gibson and Hughes in Santa Ana, and Flawless Skin and Body in San Juan Capistrano. OHH also has two-weekend projects a year, one in June and the other in December. “Make-a-Bag” day is on a Saturday and 1000 backpacks are filled by volunteers. Those backpacks are then distributed by the youth volunteers the next day (Sunday) directly to the homeless on the streets all throughout southern California.
Donors can not only donate money to purchase the goods necessary but are encouraged to come help on assembly day to pack backpacks full of the essential items. The participants have ranged from age 5 to age 80. The day following assembly day, adults are encouraged to chaperone and supervise as the youth personally deliver the backpacks to the homeless right on the streets from city to city spanning from Los Angeles County, Orange County to San Diego County.
Virtually all of the homeless are thankful, the youth are humbled, and the adults are touched as they watch in awe at the reciprocal compassion.