The Salvation Army Family Store collects and resells donated items ranging from vintage clothing to antique furniture. Patrons can search for wardrobes, tables, and couches to fill out their home, plates and silverware to stock their empty kitchen, and VCRs to feed their pet robot. All proceeds from the Family Stores support The Salvation Army's San Diego Adult Rehabilitation Center, a 12-step work therapy and faith-based residential and transitional rehabilitation program for men and women dealing with alcohol and substance abuse. The six-month to two-year program is offered to program participants at no cost.
Though the best way to contribute to the organization's mission, especially following natural disasters such as the recent wildfires, is with monetary donations, the Salvation Army accepts donations of used goods and clothing to sell in the network of Family Stores. All sales of these donated items support the funding of the organization's programming. To donate goods, call (800) 728-7825 or visit www.SanDiego.SATruck.org; for monetary donations, call (866) 455-4357, visit www.SanDiego.SalvationArmy.org, or send to The Salvation Army Divisional Headquarters, SD Fires, 2320 Fifth Avenue, San Diego, CA 92101.
When Larisa Hall was born, the doctors were not sure she'd ever be able to walk. She was born with severely clubbed feet and spent the next nine months wearing casts on both legs. But within six months, Larisa was up on her feet; and by the time she was five, she had discovered dance and never wanted to stop. Dancing proved to be a useful physical therapy—helping her gain coordination and overcome ankle pain.
Spurred on by her own triumph, Larisa founded Tap Fever Studios with the belief that everyone—no matter their age or level of ability—should have the opportunity to dance. To that end, she holds workshops for the hearing and listening impaired, as well as those who are developmentally disabled. Larisa also recently created a new method of dance called hand tap, which allows people with limited mobility to use special gloves and a wooden board to tap out rhythms while seated.
The founders of Plant With Purpose began the organization in 1984 after noticing the connections between poverty and the environment. Those connections live on today—deforestation forces poor, rural communities into even more intense poverty by hindering their abilities to live off the land. In an effort to meet the needs of their families, subsistence farmers engage in slash-and-burn agricultural practices that only facilitate the process of deforestation. Plant With Purpose aims to restore tree cover to deforested areas in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, and Latin America, thereby reviving the environment and benefiting the subsistence farmers who rely on it. The organization has also expanded its work to include other community-building services, such as providing loans, sharing agricultural techniques, and training communities in peace and reconciliation.
Every week, Feeding America San Diego supplies nutritious food to more than 73,000 children, families, and seniors facing hunger. Making such a feat possible is the heart of the organization, a team of 9,000 volunteers who sort, clean, and bag the food before sending it out to a network of partner soup kitchens and schools across the area. Nearly half of the people served by these programs are younger than 18, and much of the rest are families in rural areas and seniors who often have to choose between eating and buying medicine. But because of its connection to Feeding America national, the organization is in no short supply of food—it has access to 2 billion pounds in addition to the goods it sources locally. This means it can turn each donated dollar into six meals, an efficiency that's much to the benefit of underserved locals.
Veterans 360 works with recent combat veterans, helping them develop professional and interpersonal skills as they reintegrate into civilian life. Structured daily activities and projects are based around four goals: engagement, healing, education, and employment. When veterans first begin the program, they receive holistic posttraumatic-stress-disorder treatments that can include mentorships and therapy. Through engaging activities, they can learn about wind turbines, help maintain children’s playgrounds, and learn how to surf. Educational programs, meanwhile, help participants prepare for a return to the classroom or provide vocational training for specific careers. Ultimately, veterans can earn certifications in trade skills and work with mentors to find jobs.
Part of an international organization that aids businesses throughout the Americas and Africa, ACCION San Diego aims to increase income and access to jobs for self-employed men and women. It provides small businesses with microloans that range from $300 to $35,000, which can fund necessities to stabilize growth and help build good credit. In 2011, ACCION presented 98 small businesses with $1.1 million in loans, and continues to focus on helping individuals who are underserved or do not have access to traditional financing. ACCION also hosts free workshops and events to teach business owners new skills in financing, social media marketing, and QuickBooks.