With the weather changing, San Diego may feel warm during the day, but at night it is cold and blustery – especially for those who have to sleep without shelter. Community Christian Service Agency (CCSA) hopes to help keep individuals who are homeless, warm during the bitter nights this winter and CWS Blankets helps them help others.
Founded in 1972, CCSA is an ecumenical Christian agency whose mission is “to assist those who are unable to obtain for themselves the basic necessities of life. To offer resource counseling to move people toward greater independence and self-sufficiency. To provide opportunities for people to serve their community.”
They provide food, clothing, resource counseling, and much needed supplies to low income families and individuals who are homeless. Even with just five staff members and having volunteer help, they respond to those in need, no matter what. Connie Villarreal, Operations Manager at CCSA, said that they are just “helping families with basic necessities of life.”
At CCSA’s homeless center, they use CWS Hygiene Kits and CWS Blankets to distribute out to those who are in need of supplies, no questions asked. Once a week, CCSA offers sack lunches, fruits and snacks, blankets, and clothing. “Sometimes a person keeps a pair of pants for weeks until they are dirty and then they come to use for a clean pair, Hygiene Kit, and a Blanket,” Connie elaborates. “People really love the CWS Blankets because they can roll up and be very compact where other regular blankets can be very bulky to carry around.”
Every Christmas season, CCSA has bags to hand out to homeless individuals – which contains a hat, gloves, a hygiene kit, a candy bar, and two stamped envelopes to send cards to family. On top of that, they are also giving out weekly needed items.
CCSA also offers so many other programs and events for those in need. Each year, they have a Back to School event where they give away backpacks to children who can’t normally afford them. And each Christmas, they have “Adopt a Family” where baskets of food are donated to families. Since CCSA has been in the same location since the start, people know where they can go if they need help! Connie states that, “we have had clients who came in 8, 10 years ago and they come back because they are in need and it is good to see them come back because that’s why we are here – for them.”
CWS recently responded to CCSA needing Blankets and Hygiene Kits and a staff member responded by saying how grateful they are, “We love working with the CWS Kit program in our Service Center in Elkhart, Indiana. When the donors bring their kits to our doors, we are so thankful for their donations. It is nice to see someone’s “love in action” when they donate their kits. When we ship the CWS Kits from our Service Center to an agency in need, it is always a good reminder of how our dedicated volunteers and donors make this relief work possible. Thank you for your dedication to CWS Kits,” said Donna Kruis, Operations Project Manager.
Connie is just so happy that CCSA can help those in San Diego County and expressed her thanks to the churches and volunteers who assemble CWS Kits and raise donations for CWS Blankets, “How can I say thank you? There are no words! What you do for us means a lot to me personally, the staff, volunteers, and most importantly, our clients and without you, a lot of people would be cold. San Diego is warm during the day, but at night it can get really cold. They would just be so miserable without blankets. And the hygiene kits! Those help people get up in the mornings – to feel somewhat clean and ready for the day… We just couldn’t do all this without you so thank you! But there really are no words.”
Matthew Stevens, Director of Congregational Giving shares his gratitude, “The congregations that support the CWS Kit program are essential to the success of Church World Service. Without the support of the congregations and the kit volunteers, CWS would not be able to respond to people in their time of need. I really appreciate all of the Kit Ambassadors that take the time to organize these kit drives at their congregations. I appreciate all of your leadership.”
With the CWS Kit Program and the CWS Blanket Program, we can respond to requests by organizations from all around the world and it is all thanks to the volunteers and donors who support CWS. The volunteers who take part in these two programs are the reason CWS can distribute the Kits and Blankets – we couldn’t do it without you so thank you!
To learn more about both the CWS Kit and Blanket Program, please visit: cwsblankets.org and cwskits.org.