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( I am a real big fan of U2 and the theological messages in their music.)

People from across Simi Valley and Ventura County have been doing significantly more to help get the poor off of the streets then in the past and much more than many of us might have realized.

In Simi Valley recent progress has been made in helping homeless people and helping others from becoming homeless. I was really inspired and proud of the people in the homeless task force when I read this story from The Star.

The Ventura County has a whole section devoted to understanding the plight of homeless video that includes individual stories, videos, pictures and more.

Click here for the new section from The Star.

Click here for the Samaritan Center of Simi Valley's website. The website is currently down but I linked to a cached version of it. The center takes donations of many basics of life including white athletic socks, toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, chapstick, and other basic grooming supplies.

Let's play the inspiration game. if you as a reader will leave a comment with your real name and pledge to make a donation of needed items to the Samaritan Center by Christmas eve I will make a pledge to do something to help for each person that takes the pledge.

The things I am willing to do is interview homeless people and post the interviews, make donations, volunteer at my church's community dinner, blog about upcoming meetings, and ask others to help. I am also open to suggestions.

Let's start inspiring each other.

UPDATE: The Star's blogs were down for awhile so I am extending the challenge. So far I am bringing more to the Samaritan Center because Kim posted that she will be bringing some of the requested items on their list. Let's keep it going.

Challenge me!

This message was forwarded onto different churches and church leaders in Simi Valley by community activist Kurt Fredrickson.

Dear Friends, December 21st with the longest night of the year is Homeless Memorial Day.

That day throughout the country homeless people who have died will be remembered.
These are often the invisible people in our community. Some have become homeless because of their own choices; most because of situations that have overtaken their lives from which they have difficulty recovering.

For some, reducing and preventing homelessness is not just a good thing to do, it is actually a moral obligation. Those who have, and who have in abundance have a obligation to care for those less fortunate.

Three homeless people from Simi Valley died this year. Here is part of their stories--
one died at a PADS site, one died in pickup truck in a driveway, one died in a dumpster--all three called Simi Valley home.
each one struggled with significant issues that made them homeless and kept them homeless
they are some of the invisible people

Kevin Asuncion
Kevin was a long time resident of Simi Valley and used the services of the Samaritan Center on a fairly regular basis. Through all his inner struggles he still managed to break into a smile and laugh about things. He had several close friends at the center and offered to help where he could. He was in a very peaceful state the week that he passed.

Mike Scamaldo
Mike was also a long time resident of Simi Valley. He had many friends and was always one to talk with other clients that were in at state of unrest. There were several clients that commented on his ability to calm them and show them that some of the things that upset them weren't worth being upset over. He was always willing to help at the center when asked.

James Beck
Jim was a long time client at the Samaritan center. He fought many inner issues over the years, but was making progress in putting them behind him. He made changes that got him off the streets the latter part of his life. He talked about his desires to see his son find a way out of the life on the streets.

Peace to their memory

this weekend, consider spending a moment in your worship service remembering.

and thanks for all you do to bring light into our community.

Kurt Fredrickson


I will donate 25 pairs of white socks. Where do I take them? Couldn't get the address off the website! Want to watch my child while I go replace all the white socks in the house and buy other gifts? I will also see what jackets we can part with! Wow it's been cold, any one else have something warm to donate! Can anyone beat my sock count?

I recently read an editorial in the Star that inspired me to make additional donations. The writer reported that every week when they did their grocery shopping they would look for sale items to donate to Care and Share.

Every week I buy a bag full of food and drop it off at the grocery store collection site, it's very easy to do. Pavilion's sent out an ad the other day saying that you have a chance to win a cash prize for making a donation as an added incentive.

Our Rotary Club takes collections on a regular basis at our weekly meetings for the Samaritan Center, we all contribute. Good items to donate in addition to the ones listed are the travel items you receive at hotels.

My Rotary Club, Simi Sunset has 25 members and we collectively donated $3200 for toys and bikes for Care and Share. We delivered toys to the SV Community center (across for the train station at Stearns and LA) where families that have been identified as in need can "shop" for new toys and clothing for their children for Christmas. 950 children have been identified in need this year alone.

I was marveling at the amount of toys and new clothing that had been donated by our community, many thousands of toys have been donated for all age groups.

You can drop by the Community center and still donate toys, the greatest need is for Boys ages 9-11. Walmart gave our CLub a 10% discount on our purchases for Care and Share, Target and Toys R Us do not offer discounts


If you go and buy new socks I will come pick them up.

I bought a bunch of coats at Mervyn's on a super sale as they are going out of business. I took them to Laura Bartels in Fillmore who is collecting for children in need. I got larger boys sizes. Per Donna's comment above, that age group can be neglected.

I donated a bunch of toys to the Santa Paula Rotary holiday baskets. They give hundreds of baskets of toys and food to families in need. It's a great program.

I donated toys through another organization I belong to that takes them to Casa Pacifica. The organization also sends a check to Spence & Bob's Children's Fund of KVTA Radio.

I try to remember to buy extra food when I go through Vons, and drop cans and packages of food in the Food Share bins at the exit.

I don't give my name, as that's not what matters. It's just to show that there are many ways, large or small, to help those in need.

I understand that you don't want to give your name but for others if you read my post, if you do pledge to bring some of the requested items to the Samaritan Center by Christmas I will pledge to do more.

I know many of us do many things and don't need or want credit for doing so in public. But for those that will pledge to do a little more, I will pledge to do more too.

I like your challenge and encourage everyone to donate to the Samaritan Center - by name so Brian will keep up his pledge!!!!

I just wanted to give other ideas for ways everyone can help that aren't too expensive or time consuming, but will make a real difference in the lives of those in need.

OK Brian they will be on your porch!

We'll be talking about the problem of homelessness in America on News Talk Online on Paltalk.com at 5 PM New York time Monday December 29 with my guest, Lindsey Davis, from the Coalition for the Homeless.

Please go to www.garybaumgarten.com and click on the Join The Show link to participate.



Thanks Gary. I will check it out. How did you hear about my entry on this topic?

Thanks for reading and commenting on my blog.

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Brian Dennert here

This blog is dedicated to Ventura County politics. Send in ideas for posts to briandennert@gmail.com
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  • Brian: Thanks Gary. I will check it out. How did you read more
  • Gary Baumgarten: We'll be talking about the problem of homelessness in America read more
  • kim: OK Brian they will be on your porch! read more
  • If everyone did something...: I like your challenge and encourage everyone to donate to read more
  • Brian: I understand that you don't want to give your name read more
  • If everyone did somethng....: I bought a bunch of coats at Mervyn's on a read more
  • Brian: Kim, If you go and buy new socks I will read more
  • Donna Prenta: I recently read an editorial in the Star that inspired read more
  • Kim: I will donate 25 pairs of white socks. Where do read more