1. What is South County Outreach?
    South County Outreach is a nonprofit based in the City of Irvine, California whose mission is to fight hunger and homelessness in Orange County.
    Are you a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit organization?
    Yes! South County Outreach is a tax-exempt non-sectarian 501(c)(3) non-profit organization governed by a Board of Directors. Our tax ID is: 33-0330233.
  2. How and why was South County Outreach founded?
    South County Outreach (formerly Saddleback Community Outreach) was founded by Ray Havert in 1989 to fight to end hunger and homelessness in Orange County. Joining forces with a number of local volunteers, Ray was able to conduct food drives and open a small food cupboard that grew into a larger food pantry to assist families and seniors in need. During the first year of operation in 1989, the team was able to provide 1,500 local residents with food, household items, and resources.
  3. What services does South County Outreach provide?
    Our dedicated team empowers those we serve through our spectrum of services that work in collaboration to serve those most vulnerable to hunger and homelessness, including a robust Housing Program, our client-choice Food Pantry, Homeless Prevention services, our self-funding social enterprise – the Upscale Resale Thrift Store, and Seasonal Programs. For more details about our programs, please click here.
  4. How does South County Outreach prevent hunger and homelessness in South Orange County?
    We prevent homelessness in our community by offering transitional, affordable, and rapid rehousing programs to qualifying households. To combat food insecurity and hunger, we operate one of the largest food pantries in Orange County that provides fresh and shelf-stable foods to as many as 3,000 residents each month.
  5. What is South County Outreach’s Transitional Housing Program?
    Our Transitional Housing Program (THP) provides short-to-medium term subsidized housing in 9 South County Outreach-owned condominiums and professional case management services to homeless families.
  6. What is the Affordable Housing program?
    Our Affordable Housing program offers certified affordable, long-term housing stability for income-qualified households in 11 condominiums owned and managed by SCO, and scattered throughout the South County region.
  7. What is the Rapid Rehousing program?
    The Rapid Rehousing program provides medium-term financial assistance and services to house individuals and families and help those who are experiencing homelessness, or face the imminent threat of homelessness, to be quickly rehoused and stabilized.
  8. Who does South County Outreach help?
    We serve families and individuals, the underemployed, unemployed, seniors, veterans, those living on fixed incomes, and otherwise at-risk residents of South Orange County. Last year, 37% of our clients were children, 22% of whom were under the age of 5. In 2019, we served 838 seniors, with women representing 57% of that population, and clients over the age of 70 representing 48%. For Food Pantry services, we dedicate our efforts to those residents located in the following cities: Aliso Viejo, Dana Point, Irvine, Laguna Beach, Laguna Hills, Laguna Niguel, Laguna Woods, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita, San Clemente, and San Juan Capistrano. For Homeless Prevention services, we have programs available for residents throughout Orange County.
  9. How do I qualify for assistance from South County Outreach?
    Whether you are in need of a place to live, food for your family, or help keeping the lights on South County Outreach can help! To select the right program for you, please visit http://www.sco-oc.org/get-help/ and contact us at 949-380-8144 or sco@sco-oc.org.
  10. How does South County Outreach select who to help?
    For housing-based programs, funding recipients are determined by our highly trained case managers. If for any reason you are not eligible for assistance at SCO, you may be offered resources and referrals to other agencies. In order to receive Food Pantry services, clients need to provide the following documentation at the time of their appointment:
            – Photo ID for all of the adults (18+) in the home (e.g. driver’s license, passport, ID card).
            – Identification for all other minor household members (e.g. identification card, school ID, birth certificate, Social Security card, passport, etc.).
            – Proof of address (utility bill, phone bill, etc., with name, address and a date on the document.)
            – Verification of all household income, if applicable (e.g. cash aid, food stamps, child support, pay stub, EDD check stub, Social Security award letter, etc.).
  1. How does South County Outreach receive funding?
    We receive funding through the financial support of individuals, businesses, government partners, faith communities, and community organizations.
  2. How do I make a donation?
    There are a variety of ways to donate to South County Outreach! If you’d like to make a financial contribution, you have the ability to select which program your funds will go towards. These include, but are not limited to: housing programs, food pantry services, seasonal programs, and our general operating funds. To donate via our secure online platform today, please visit this page on our website.
  3. How do I volunteer?
    If you’re interested in becoming a South County Outreach volunteer, please visit this page on our website. We’re always looking for individuals who want to offer their assistance in interacting with clients, sorting and stocking our Food Pantry shelves, helping tackle office administrative tasks, and much more. Our Volunteer Department can be reached via email at volmgr@sco-oc.org or via phone at 949-380-8144 ext. 217.
  4. What is the Homeless Prevention program?
    Our Homeless Prevention program offers emergency rental and utility assistance to families who are at risk of utility disconnection or eviction from their home. This program serves hundreds of families each year, and helps ensure that a temporary setback does not turn into a socio-economic crisis.
  5. What are Food Drive Fridays?
    Food Drive Fridays are facilitated by members of our community! We join forces with local cities, churches, businesses and others to host food drives that help stock the shelves at the South County Outreach Food Pantry. For more information about how to host a drive, please visit this page on our website. Alternatively, you can contact our Food Team at foodteam@sco-oc.org or via phone (49) 380-8144 ext 203.
  6. When can I visit the Food Pantry?
    South County Outreach operates a client-choice model in the Food Pantry, whereby residents may specify foods based on preference, dietary restrictions, allergies, etc. Typically, clients have been able to shop the pantry much like they would a grocery store.  However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a “Shop for Clients” process is temporarily in place until further notice. Food distribution is available Monday-Friday, and appointments are highly recommended. To make your appointment, please call 949-380-8144 ext. 207 Monday through Thursday from 10:30 a.m. until 4:00 p.m, and Fridays from 9am-12pm. 
  7. How can I donate a computer / technology equipment?
    To donate computers or technology equipment, please call (949) 380-8144 ext. 212.
  8. What are some of South County Outreach’s seasonal programs?
    Nearly 1,300 families are sponsored during the holidays with meals and toys as part of our annual Adopt-a-Family As part of our Support-a-Senior program, we pair sponsors with older adults in need of a warm holiday meal and companionship during the month of December. In addition, back-to-school backpacks filled with school supplies are distributed to more than 750 children each summer. NOTE: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, our Adopt-a-Family and Support-a-Senior programs have been suspended for 2020.  We hope to reintroduce these program in 2021.
  9. What is the Upscale Resale Thrift Store?
    Upscale Resale is the social enterprise arm of South County Outreach located at 23501 Ridge Route Drive, #G in Laguna Hills, CA 92653. Upscale resale is a great place to find clothing and household goods at great prices. In addition to providing operational funding for the organization at large, Upscale Resale supports our overall mission by also providing 400 clothing vouchers each year to families in need. NOTE: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, clothing vouchers are not available to our clients. We hope to reintroduce this program in 2021.
  10. How can I donate items to Upscale Resale?
    Donations are typically accepted at Upscale Resale every Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday from 11:00 a.m. until 2:00 p.m. Please call (949) 855-4158 to ensure the store is able to accept your donation. When you donate items and shop at Upscale Resale, you are supporting programs that help keep people from becoming homeless, feed people with limited financial resources and find housing for the working homeless.
  11. What is on South County Outreach’s “Wish List?”
    In addition to monetary donations, food donations, volunteers, and office equipment and supplies, we often have more specific needs on our wish list. Please help if you can by e-mailing sco@sco-oc.org or calling 949-380-8144. To view our current wish list, please visit this page on our website.
  12. How many people does South County Outreach help each year?
    We help approximately 6,000 people across our various programs, including 3,000 residents each month in our Food Pantry.
  13. How many pounds of food are distributed each month?
    We distribute over 850,000 pounds per year, roughly 70,000 to 80,000 pounds per month.
  14. How many people are homeless in South Orange County?
    On a given night in 2019, there were 6,860 people homeless in Orange County – 11% of whom resided in South Orange County. Of those in South Orange County, only 225 were in homeless shelters, and 20% were sleeping in their cars. (Source: Orange County 2019 Point In Time Summary)
  15. How many people are food insecure in South Orange County?
    In Orange County, there are more than 450,000 people at risk of going hungry each month including children, seniors living on fixed incomes, people with disabilities, and those without homes. (Source: Feed OC)