On the evening of Thursday, January 9, 2014, the Orange County Community Foundation (OCCF) made a presentation for Spiritual and Religious Alliance, Hope (SARAH) and Mandala Cultural Alliance.
. The evening’s program was moderated by SARAH president, Sande Hart. Mr. Tezcan Inanlar, Pacifica Institute CEO, introduced the organization and talked about its role and involvement in the community. Shelly Hoss, OCCF President, was the main speaker of the evening. Ms. Hoss focused on ConnectOC and the myths and misconceptions about life in Orange County.
Ms. Hoss talked about ConnectOC and primary role of the organization. ConnectOC is a bridge or middleman between donors to help take care of and support those in need. They are given funds by philanthropists and other organizations for specific local community programs and people of Orange County. The organization examines solutions for those in greatest of need in Orange County. She further informed the audience of three critical areas; the safety net protecting the most vulnerable residents, the health and wellness of the community, and the education of the youth. She said “The objective is this. To inform people, get them equipped and get inspired to act.” These three strategies affect the critical areas of OC, which ConnectOC is trying to resolve by community involvement.
Ms. Hoss also touched on poverty, unemployment, housing, homelessness and hunger. She mentioned how a person must work 133 hours per week to be able to afford a one bedroom apartment. Additionally, 43% of OC residents cannot afford to purchase a home. Furthermore, 5.5% of children are homeless and hungry. 1 in 5 children is at risk of going hungry and the elderly is at the highest risk of hunger.
At the end of the evening, the members of the audience were no longer spectators. Instead, three groups were formed where each discussed and brainstormed ideas and tried to come up with solutions to fulfill the needs of the countys’ critical problems.