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County says making homeless donations through organizations can prevent piles of unwanted items

Worried donations over the holidays to homeless people living in the tent encampments along the Santa Ana River Trail will end up abandoned, the public is being encouraged by officials to coordinate with homeless service providers working with the county on outreach.
“We’re grateful to everyone lending a hand and we’re just trying to promote the best means possible so that things don’t go to waste,” said Jennifer Nentwig, a spokeswoman with the Orange County Chief Executive Office.
Discarded clothes are left in a pile along the Santa Ana River Trail, home to hundreds of homeless people in Orange County living in tent encampments. (Photo courtesy of City Net)Furniture and other items no longer wanted or needed by homeless people living in tent encampments is abandoned along the Santa Ana River Trail in Orange County. To cut down on waste, the county is encouraging the public to donate through service providers. (Photo courtesy of City Net)Bagged trash and other discarded items pile up beside tent encampments where homeless people live along the Santa Ana River Trail near Angel Stadium in Anaheim. (Photo courtesy of City Net)Show Caption of Expand
The county is hoping to ward off a repeat of what Nentwig said happened over the Thanksgiving holiday when individuals and groups visited areas where homeless people congregate to drop off an overabundance of charitable items – food, clothing, and more – triggering the unintentional consequence of unwanted items being discarded and left to rot in heaps of trash.
This kind of blight is an ongoing occurrence, she added, exacerbated by a surge in donations during the holidays.
“Without coordinating with a service organization, members of the public may risk donating items that are duplicative or items that may end up discarded as debris in public spaces and potentially left for public agencies to then clean up,” Nentwig said.
“We appreciate all those who will make a difference this holiday season by contacting a service organization to donate to those experiencing homelessness in Orange County.”
Here are three organizations the county suggests: City Net at; Midnight Mission at; and Mercy House at All three provide services to homeless people under contract with the county.
City Net works in the river bed area near Angel Stadium in Anaheim; Midnight Mission is at The Courtyard shelter in the Santa Ana Civic Center; and Mercy House runs the Bridges at Kraemer Place shelter in Anaheim and the winter shelter programs at the armories in Santa Ana and Fullerton.
“We encourage people to reach out via City Net’s ‘Get Involved’ contact information before they just show up and drop things off,” said Brad Fieldhouse, executive director of City Net, referring to the steady stream of visitors to the bike trail encampments.
Find out more by contacting the nonprofit’s Community Engagement Team at 714-494-9418 or by emailing
Fieldhouse said the nonprofit has a quickly expanding number of community members who have requested placement on a list of those willing to provide strategically needed resources, such as a recent request for an apartment-sized refrigerator in good working condition for someone who was just moved into their own place.
“We know that a lot of people have been and are still wanting to help, as we continue to meet many dozens of concerned citizens each and every day that come by,” Fieldhouse said.
The county also provides information online on other organizations and ways to help by geographical Service Planning Area — North, Central and South.
Source: Oc Register

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