We are proud to report that Volunteer Network OC is beginning to realize its mission, which is to connect volunteers to volunteer organizations. Through our website, user-friendly app, and social media platform, we aim to both inspire volunteers and provide support to those organizations who help feed, clothe, shelter and support disadvantaged and vulnerable people in Orange County. With our new app, a volunteer can find volunteer opportunities and sign up to serve in less than a minute. It’s Volunteering Made Easy!

We began testing our mobile app last weekend in partnership with Loaves & Fishes on Saturday and Isaiah House on Sunday. Both events were successful. With a generous donation of 1,750 pairs of socks from Bombas, we reached out to those organizations and offered to provide volunteers to help with their good work and socks for the people they serve. Our volunteers used the mobile app to sign up and were rewarded with an incredible experience. We gave out 850 pairs of socks and served food to many.

Since 1985, Loaves & Fishes has provided food and other necessities to more than 700 homeless or needy men, women and children on a bi-weekly basis. It is operated entirely by volunteers; there are no employees or paid positions. It all takes place at St. Joseph Church/School in Santa Ana.

Isaiah House of the Orange County Catholic Worker has served poor people with dignity since 1987. This house of hospitality, which is located in Santa Ana’s eastside barrio on Cypress Street, offers meals for the homeless, shelter, bags of food and clothing, showers, emergency assistance, a relaxing backyard, and always a friendly ear and kind words of support.

We were proud to partner with those great organizations last weekend. The reward to our volunteers was two-fold; first, the love they showed to less-fortunate members of our community was returned to them in spades and, second, the opportunity to work with other volunteers was uplifting because volunteers in general are sincere, compassionate people. They are people worth knowing.

Paul Murphy, a member of our board and longtime volunteer, summarized the experience well when he said, “each and every time I volunteer for anything, it gives me a great perspective of how lucky we all are. I don’t mean because you have something that someone else doesn’t. I mean how simple and powerful it is that you can put a smile on someone’s face or hope in someone’s heart just by making a simple gesture.”

We encourage our viewers to download the Volunteer Network OC app and sign up for an event. We also recommend following us on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. The links are found below:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/VolunteerNetOC

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/volunteernetworkoc/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/volunteernetworkoc/

To quote another great person, “seek opportunities to show you care. The smallest gestures often make the biggest difference.”

― John Wooden