ATRS Cares: We Are Giving Children Hope in Southern California
By Audrey Masson, Guest Blogger and Summer 2014 #EcoArmy Intern
Did you know? ATRS Clothing & Shoe Recycling programs support a network of over 24 charities nationwide. These organizations rely on this funding source to sustain local programs and services. Our partner in Southern California is Giving Children Hope, a non-profit organization that provides vital resources to vulnerable children and families.
Since 1993 GCHope has promoted family sustainability, economic independence and self-sufficiency so that at-risk children can grow up in a stable environment. Summer intern Audrey Masson caught up with executive director Sean Lawrence for an enriching chat that will inspire you to get involved:
Q: Can you explain the importance of Giving Children Hope’s impact in California?
A: GCHope provides food for over 5,000 impoverished families every week! These are families that have been identified as homeless by the Orange County and Los Angeles school districts. In addition, we provide basic resources for these families such as linens, over-the-counter medicines and hygiene products. We also have an onsite medical clinic that is open 5 days a week to serve the poor.
Q: A picture is worth a thousand words. If you had to choose one picture to represent GCHope, what would it be and why?
A: A smiling child! Our goal is create a bridge to sustainable hope with the temporary relief we provide. If our food or medicines brings a child security and the knowledge that he is loved, we have been successful.
Funding from the Clothing & Shoe Recycling partnership supports “We’ve Got Your Back,” a school nutrition program in Southern California.
Q: How important is GCHope’s partnership with ATRS?
A: ATRS is a vital partner of GCHope. The revenue we receive each month allows us to sustain and grow our school nutrition programs. The service that ATRS provides for us enables us to spend all of our time and resources on the mission at hand. Consistent support from ATRS over the last 2+ years has been a critical part of our success.
Q: What is the next step for GCHope?
A: As school starts up again, GCHope begins delivering backpacks full of food to local schools that will ensure students eat at home and on weekends. We love this program because access to regular meals helps students succeed in their education.
Q: Working toward a greener tomorrow is a key goal for ATRS. What is a recent green accomplishment GCHope has achieved?
A: Last July, we built a new aquaponics garden on our campus which will help us provide fresh produce for those we serve, thus cutting down on our food costs and allowing us to serve more families with healthy options.
The new GCHope aquaponics garden is showing signs of life.
Q: What is the biggest challenge at GCHope?
A: Getting enough food to serve all those in need is always a challenge. The funds provided by ATRS every month allow us to buy items in bulk and make a much bigger impact in the lives of families we serve.
Q: Can you share the most awe-inspiring thing that has happened to you during your time with GCHope?
A: There were two girls at Gilbert School who were in our We’ve Got Your Back nutrition program. They were the recipients of backpacks every week, but they also wanted to be part of our solution. So every Friday when the backpacks of food were delivered to their school, they would help sort and distribute them to the other kids on the program. These kids are the solution to poverty!
GCHope staffers pose with Gilbert School recipients-turned-volunteers.
ATRS is proud to support the mission, programs and services of GCHope through our community recycling partnership. Help us support this worthy nonprofit organization by simply donating your unwanted clothing, shoes and household textiles into ATRS bins marked with the GCHope logo. All donations directly benefit this charity and help divert recyclable items out of local landfills at the same time. Click here to find your neighborhood recycler today.