Holiday Adopt-A-Family Adopter Deadline Extended


Interfaith Community Services is excited to announce that the deadline to sign-up to adopt-a-family this holiday season has been extended! Those interested in supporting a local individual or family by fulfilling their holiday wishes will have until next Monday, November 23rd to sign-up.

This year, over 500 of the individuals and families Interfaith serves have been nominated by their program staff to participate in the Holiday Adopt-A-Family program.  These individuals and families are then anonymously matched with generous adopters (YOU!) who fulfill their wishes for the holiday season.

With only one more week to sign up, click here today! After filling out the form, you will be matched with an individual or family and will be provided with detailed information about their holiday wishes and gift drop-off procedures.  If you are unable to complete the application online, please give us a call or visit our Betty and Melvin Cohn Center headquarters at 550 W. Washington Ave in Escondido to fill out a hard copy.

If you or your group do not wish to shop this year, you can still make a difference by donating to the Holiday Adopt-A-Family program via a check or credit card gift.  To donate online, please click here and select “Holiday Adopt-A-Family” from the drop-down menu. Thank you for your service and dedicate to our community members!

For more information, please contact Micki Hickox, Volunteer Coordinator, at or (760) 489-6380 ext. 204.

TYA Student and Family Support Center opens

Ditmar opening

On October 29th, Interfaith Community Services opened an additional drop-in support center in Oceanside at the Ditmar Elementary School.  The Transitional Youth Academy Student and Family Support Center will provide services to Transitional Youth Academy students and their families beyond the in-school mentoring students in the program already receive, including access to a computer lab, student-parent engagement programming, sports and recreation activities and more.

At the Transitional Youth Academy Student and Family Support Center, Interfaith will also provide a wide array of services to individuals and families seeking to improve their level of self-sufficiency. Assistance available includes:

Self-Sufficiency Services

  • Case management
  • Employment services
  • Financial education services
  • Enrollment in CALFresh, Medi-Cal and other public benefit programs
  • Homeless court referrals
  • Free tax preparation services

Basic Needs Services

  • Food
  • Personal hygiene items
  • Clothing and motel vouchers*
  • Transportation, rental and utility assistance*
  • Prescription and eyeglass assistance*

*Restrictions apply and are dependent on available funds

To commemorate the opening of the new center, Interfaith and the Transitional Youth Academy staff hosted a “Falloween” Family Fair in the days before Halloween.  Open to students and their families, activities included carnival games, crafts, a cake walk, face painting and more.

To visit the Transitional Youth Academy Student and Family Support Center, please visit:

Ditmar Elementary School

1125 S. Ditmar Street, Oceanside, CA 92054

(760) 721-2117

Hours of Operation:

Mondays: 1:00 p.m.

Wednesdays: 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.


Hawthorne Veteran and Family Resource Center opens it’s doors!


HVFRC ribbon cutting

Tom and Dorothy Hawthorne, naming donors of the Hawthorne Veteran and Family Resource Center, lead the ribbon cutting ceremony at yesterday’s Grand Opening.

Interfaith Community Services celebrated the grand opening of the new Hawthorne Veteran and Family Resource Center yesterday with a ceremonial ribbon cutting, flag raising, tours of the facility and a presentation of commemorative bricks to vital donors and volunteers.  With nearly 200 community members, city officials, staff, volunteers, donors and more in attendance, Interfaith officially opened the doors the new facility, which will house 20 homeless veterans and 12 homeless non-veterans exiting local hospitals.

A former medical office building, the renovation of the Hawthorne Veteran and Family Resource Center began in early February 2015 and was a $3.2 million project, the majority of which was  funded through gifts and in-kind donations.  While Interfaith will begin moving in clients towards the end of this month, the organization is still seeking $650,000 in support to put the finishing touches on the building.

Home to Interfaith’s Recuperative Care Program, the Hawthorne Veteran and Family Resource Center will play a major role in the organization’s goal of ending homelessness in North San Diego County.  With the ability to help homeless veterans and non-veterans recover from physical and mental illnesses with a roof over their heads instead of on the streets, Interfaith is making it’s mission of helping people help themselves a reality for many in the community seeking to gain self-sufficiency and stability.

Staff Spotlight: Micki Hickox


Interfaith is excited to welcome Micki Hi2015-09-29 11.01.30ckox to Interfaith Community Services as the new Volunteer Coordinator!

Prior to joining Interfaith, Micki served in the non-profit sector for many years, most recently with the City of Escondido’s Older Adult Services Department where she was responsible for developing, planning, coordinating and supervising senior programs and services. Prior to her work with the City, Micki was a Non-Profit Consultant from Event Innovations Inc. and was the Director of Volunteer Services for the Escondido Humane Society.

Today, as Interfaith’s Volunteer Coordinator, Micki is responsible for recruiting, training and managing all of Interfaith’s volunteers. She works closely with program staff to determine their volunteer needs, actively seeks out new opportunities throughout the organization and is a friendly face for all volunteers graciously donating their time to Interfaith. We are excited to see how she will grow our Volunteer Services Department and are extremely lucky to have her!


Local veteran builds home and business with help from Interfaith


A native to Brooklyn, New York, Jemel was enlisted in the Marine Corps for four years where he served as an aviation operations specialist.  After traveling around the world with the Marines, he decided to return home to take care of his mother when she was diagnosed with breast cancer.  In addition to the stress of helping his mother through her illness, Jemel also went through a divorce and lost custody of his daughter, causing him to spiral into depression.

“I couldn’t maintain a job, was getting sick, and lost my home,” said Jemel.  “But I always tried to keep a positive outlook no matter how bad it got.”

After nearly 4 ½ years on the street, bouncing around San Diego County with only three bags to his name and working odd jobs for weeks at a time, Jemel ended up at the tent shelter in Point Loma, a place for homeless veterans to sleep during the coldest months of the year.  It was there, during the last two weeks of the tent being open for the season, that Jemel met a representative from Interfaith Community Services who encouraged him to come to the Oceanside office and get placed into housing.

“I was so tired, I wasn’t sleeping, and I didn’t even know how to get to Oceanside,” said Jemel.  “But I packed up my bags and made the trip.  I didn’t know where I was going to sleep that night, but I felt like being there was going to get me one step closer to getting back on my feet.”

During the next few days, Jemel met with several representatives from Interfaith’s veterans department and it was then that he says his life completely changed.

“When I sat down in the meeting and they handed me over keys, I was stunned.  It hadn’t hit me yet that these were keys to my own apartment,” said Jemel.  “I just stared at them; that whole morning I was wondering where I was going to sleep that night, and suddenly I had my own place.  It was a shock and a blessing.”

Today, Jemel is settled into his apartment in Oceanside and has begun cooking for other veteran residents in his program.  Through his cooking, Jemel hopes to show veterans that healthy, affordable meals are within their reach and that eating good food can change their health, attitudes, and lifestyles.  He also is eager to begin classes to get his guard card and begin working in security.

“Everything I do, I do for my daughter,” said Jemel.  “I didn’t think there was anyone out there that could help me, but then Interfaith found me.  I really hope more veterans will know this place exists because it truly changed my life.”