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Help the Children seeks donations, volunteers

Posted: July 8, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: July 8, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Help The Children, formerly known as Hunger Defense Fund, is passionate about helping children and their families.

With the recent economical trends, local families have been impacted in various ways, according to Michael Santomauro, director of the Santa Clarita chapter of Help the Children.

“We’ve had 500 families sign up in the year 2010, which is approximately 2,300 people. We’ve seen families that have had one or both parents losing their jobs or contracting an illness or a combination of both of these things,” Santomauro said. “Some families in Santa Clarita simply cannot afford to buy enough food.

“A lot of people come here that never expected to be in this position and it’s heartbreaking to see the fear and emotions they’re dealing with. They’re desperate to feed their families.”

Clients of Help the Children fill out an application to determine eligibility. Once approved, usually the same day, clients can shop for a week’s worth of groceries at a suggested donation of $4 approximately twice a month. “The $4 is not paying for the food, it’s allowing our clients to be part of solution, of the charity itself,” Santomauro said.

In addition to groceries, clients are also offered free clothing and employment resources. “Our focus is offering a hand up, not a hand out,” Santomauro said.

The community is invited to assist Help the Children by donating non-perishable items such as small and large canned soups, canned meats, canned chili, canned stews, canned hash, canned mixed vegetables, canned refried beans, one pound bags of rice, pasta and beans, peanut butter, jelly, cookies, snacks, pasta sauce, and personal hygiene items such as toothbrushes, toothpaste, shampoo, conditioner, soap, razors, diapers, wipes and feminine products.

Fresh produce and perishable items such as dairy products are also welcome, as are back to school and backpack donations for the children of families in need.

Donations of the latter should be appropriate for grades K-12 and delivered to Help the Children no later than July 29.
For a limited time, Scratch Golf Accelerated, a brand new indoor golf facility in Valencia, is hosting a fundraiser for Help the Children. Anyone that signs up for an introductory package and mentions they heard about Scratch Golf from Help the Children will receive a discounted price for the introductory package and Scratch Golf will make a significant contribution to Help the Children.

Help the Children is also in need of volunteers for food distribution, receiving, stocking, general warehouse cleanup, and pick-up and delivery of donated food items. “It takes a lot of work, coordination and effort to provide this food to those that need it,” Santomauro said. “We’re also looking for financial support.”

  Help the Children is located at 25030 Ave. Tibbitts Suite L, Valencia. For more information call (661) 702-8852 or visit


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