Interfaith receives mini-grant from San Marcos Community Foundation to help seniors in need live independently

Interfaith’s effort to help seniors in San Marcos got a boost recently thanks to a $1,500 mini-grant awarded by the San Marcos Community Foundation.

The grant will help provide low-income San Marcos seniors with the assistance they need to live independently, remaining in their homes as long as possible. It also provides flexibility for individual assessments and case management for San Marcos seniors in need of emergency financial assistance and/or minor home repairs.

Interfaith’s senior emergency fund granted temporary financial assistance to 19 seniors in crisis over the past year, three of them in San Marcos. Another 225 minor home repairs, 53 in San Marcos, helped to allow aging residents to remain safely in their homes.

Emergency funds allocated by Interfaith have helped assist a homeless woman pay her first month’s rent and security deposit, allowing her to move into an apartment. Another senior received help with her phone bill and medical insurance payments after a financial scam cost her $8,000. These kinds of assistance can often make a major impact in the life of seniors who are struggling to get by.

Minor home repairs performed for seniors include building access ramps, installing grab bars, smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors, minor plumbing and electrical work and installation of window screens.

Interfaith is grateful for the generosity of the San Marcos Senior Foundation! We couldn’t possibly provide for seniors in need without the help of community partners like SMCF.



CSUSM nursing students conduct health fair at Interfaith in Escondido

On July 24th CSUSM nursing interns held a health fair at Interfaith’s Freund Nutrition Center.  Numerous residents of Merle’s Place, Interfaith’s onsite Veterans shelter, attended the health fair which touched on topics such as nutritious eating, diabetes and hepatitis. Through Interfaith’s partnership with the CSUSM School of Nursing, clients in both Merle’s Place and our Recuperative Care Program receive augmented care.


Valley View Ranch residents collect over 1,000 food and hygiene items for Interfaith clients

On Saturday, July 26th board member Tim Sharon, along with community volunteers Lorie Culp, Cheyenne Culp, Ron Brunner and Rebecca Parsons, hosted a food and hygiene item drive at the entrance of Valley View Ranch in Valley Center. Prior to the drive, volunteers hung paper bags and fliers on each home in the gated community. Their efforts paid off as over 1,000 items were donated:  507 food items and 538 personal hygiene items. Also present to support the volunteers and transport the items were Interfaith staff members Rob Shover and Chelsea Buck.

A big thanks to all who were involved and helped make this community drive a huge success! Your efforts make a difference in the lives of those we help in our community.

Once helped, now she gives back.

When life got difficult for Emma and her young son, Interfaith Community Services was there to provide support. When things got a little better, she decided to return the favor.

Emma (not her real name) came over from India with practically nothing in 2007. She sought and received asylum and her green card in 2009, but without a car or the ability to drive, struggled to find work.

The vast culture differences between her native land and the U.S. added to the difficulty.

“When I moved to Escondido, I did not have a job and it was difficult to survive and find resources,” Emma said. “Someone told me about Interfaith, that I should come there and they would help me.”

Interfaith provided Emma with some badly needed food during the Christmas season. Her son received some holiday treats as well, much appreciated by Emma, who said, “I was trying to save every penny and dime I could.”

Ultimately, Emma found a job at Palomar Medical Center. She is now an administrative assistant at a manufacturing company. In February, she became a U.S. citizen.

The day after becoming a citizen, Emma passed the Interfaith office on her way home. She stopped in, visited with Larry Christiansen in the development department, and made a donation of $100.

“I really felt that I owed them. I had to give back something for the help they gave me at a tough time,” she said.

Emma’s son, now 13, is in 8th grade, loves school and has lots of friends, said a grateful Emma, who pledges to “continue to help Interfaith as much and whenever I can.”

TYA graduate says ‘thanks’ for the help

Vu Nguyen, a case manager for the Transitional Youth Academy, recently received a heartfelt thank-you note from one of the program’s graduates, Jordan Smith.

The class of 2012 graduate from Oceanside High School emailed Nguyen to report that he is working hard to keep his grades up at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He also noted that his spring football practice “went great,” and that he was looking forward to the upcoming season.

For that, he wanted to thank Nguyen and the staff of the TYA and Working Pirates programs who helped to steer him in the right direction when he repeatedly got into trouble at school.

“Entering Oceanside High my freshman year (thanks to Interfaith), you were right there to keep me out of trouble,” Smith wrote to Nguyen. “Thanks to you, TYA and Working Pirates, I was able to get a job. The job was more than making money, it was about keeping me off the streets and out of trouble. It gave me a chance to focus on what I loved, football.”

Smith thanked Nguyen for helping him to become the best student he could be and for instilling in him the ethic of working hard for what he wants.

“I will never forget when I went to your office first day of my junior year telling you to switch me out of pre-calculus and you said, ‘You better suck it up and push through it,’ and ‘nothing good in life comes easy,’ ” wrote Smith. “Although I did not understand it at the time, what you said was not about the math class. What you said was about life.

“Nothing good in life is going to be earned easy,” Smith continued. “If it was easy, everyone would do it. That is why I am here writing this thank-you letter from my desk at West Point. Every time I want to give up, I hear you voice in the back of my head saying to ‘Keep fighting, and it will pay off one day.’ ”

To follow Smith’s progress, look for No. 53 on the Army defensive line during the upcoming football season.