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Here's how you can give back this holiday season

If you want to give back to those in need, there are many opportunities to make the holidays a bit brighter for local families. Here are a few to consider:

South County Outreach provides housing assistance, food and other services to thousands of local families. In fact, its food pantry alone distributes nearly a million pounds of emergency, non-perishable and fresh food to about 9,000 families annually. To get involved, visit http://www.sco-oc.org.

Family Assistance Ministries also works to prevent hunger and homelessness in Orange County – touching more than 50,000 people in need each year. This organization has a Christmas and year-round Adopt-A-Family program. Call 949-492-8477 for details.

Families Forward’s Adopt-A-Family program is another opportunity for individuals, companies and community organizations to spread warmth and bring holiday joy to low-income families.  Visit http://www.families-forward.org for more information.

In Mission Viejo, our City collects canned and non-perishable food items year-round at the library and Norman P. Murray Community and Senior Center to benefit local food pantries. We also team up with the Marine Adoption Committee to host a toy drive to support our adopted Marine battalion at Camp Pendleton.  Collection bins are in all City buildings through December 21. In addition, community members can adopt a Marine family for the holidays and buy gifts for each family member based on specific wish lists.  For more information, call 949-470-3061.

For more information about other resources and organizations in the area, check out our City’s Community Resources & Hotline Guide.

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