By Eric Paulsen – Managing Principal – Orange County & Inland Empire
Every day, families continue to struggle to provide basic essential items for their children. Families represent 61% of those living in Orange County shelters and they are in need of basic essential items such as diapers, wipes and food. Further, more than 330,000 children in California are homeless while 1 in 3 American families struggle to even provide diapers. These are real and unfortunate findings from HomeAid Essentials, a tremendous community-wide effort that collects these essential items in partnership with the Children and Families Commission of Orange County.
Over the past eight years, HomeAid Orange County has partnered with thousands of businesses, community organizations, and individuals to provide essential items to families experiencing homelessness. This community-wide effort has resulted in over 6.6 million items donated in support of homeless families. We at Cushman & Wakefield are proud to be one of the many caring businesses across the community banding together with HomeAid in support of this important movement to raise funds and awareness and collect essential items. Members of our local Orange County (Irvine) office helped donate essential items (diapers, wipes, food, and new baby products) which are then distributed by HomeAid to help improve the lives of these struggling families with young children. Cushman & Wakefield Future Leaders (CWFL) is also a proud sponsor of HomeAid Essentials. Our CWFL network is comprised of professionals with seven (7) years or less in commercial real estate whose mission in part is also focused on community service. I’ve been fortunate enough to have also served on the Board with HomeAid since 2013.
This critical HomeAid Essentials campaign is conducted annually to coincide with Mother’s Day to ultimately help families achieve self-sufficiency and break the cycle of homelessness. HomeAid service providers serve nearly 1,000 babies annually and their need continues to grow. HomeAid’s goal for 2018 is to further expand the program to support more agencies in Orange County that serve homeless families.
To further show our support and help fulfill this desperate need for diapers, members of our CWFL along with myself also recently volunteered in HomeEssentials ‘Builders for Babies’ Diaper Drive held at Angels Stadium on June 8th afternoon. Together with a number of corporate sponsors and community members, our spirited local Orange County team gathered under the “Big A” to help unload, count, sort and organize diapers that will support shelters in Orange County and the Inland Empire. And the Community responded, with over 1.05M diapers donated.
But we are not done yet. In order to provide diapers for each child in every shelter, HomeAid needs to collect over 1.2 million diapers! That’s why Cushman & Wakefield and a long list of other supportive groups and individuals have already joined in this collective effort to not only achieve but hopefully surpass this goal and help relieve some of the hardship these families face every day. To quote HomeAid, “The simple donation of a box of diapers or baby wipes, multiplied by thousands, can change lives.”
More about HomeAid Orange County (OC): HomeAid’s mission is to end homelessness by building new lives for homeless families and individuals through housing, awareness, and service. Since 1989, we have created partnerships between the building industry and county service providers to develop doorways for more than 60,000 homeless. Year after year, HomeAid OC remains a dedicated advocate in the mission to end the despair of homelessness. We give individuals and families experiencing homelessness the opportunity to move from benches to beds to homes, allowing them to return to self-reliance, self-support, and independence. To learn more or to donate to HomeAid in Orange County, please visit: https://www.homeaidoc.org/ . For other chapter locations visit: https://www.homeaid.org/