Ramona’s first Plastic Egg and Plastic Food Drive is taking place through Easter Sunday to benefit the homeless in the community.
The volunteers who counted the homeless during the 2014 “We All Count” effort in January found 21 visibly homeless persons living outdoors in Ramona — one appeared to be a teenager — and they know there are more.
Kaye Kelley, member of the Regional Continuum of Care Council and community organizer, said the homeless count numbers are low because they don’t reflect the teenagers who are couch-surfing in the area. Nor do they accurately reflect the veteran population, she said.
Both of these groups are typically “invisible” due to their reluctance to be identified, but they need the services just as badly as their more visible counterparts, she said.
“Oftentimes, the teens and the veterans will not show up in a conventional soup kitchen setting, so the gift cards are a way to meet their basic needs with discretion,” said Kelley, one of the Ramona residents who participated in the 2014 homeless count.
The volunteers consider this effort a much needed follow-up to the count. They are asking the community to donate fast food or grocery store gift cards in $5 increments or to drop off a plastic egg with a personal inspirational message —- or give both. In Ramona, Light of the Lamb Ministry at 318 Seventh St. coordinates the Project Care and Share effort. Volunteers will distribute the eggs and meal gift cards there on Easter evening, April 20, during suppertime at 6.
Project Care and Share distributions have averaged approximately 200,000 pounds of food annually and, as an extension of its efforts, will receive the first of what organizers say will be annual Plastic Egg and Plastic Food drives.
“We’re asking the public for any assistance in helping to help these folks come out of the woodwork and celebrate the Easter holiday in dignity,” Kelley said. “There are a lot of teens and veterans out there who need your help.”
The Ramona office of Project Care and Share acquires and distributes fresh food every week. It also sponsors several free food distributions at locations within the community. San Diego Food Bank estimates it is within the top 5 of 412 nonprofit agencies distributing food within San Diego County.
Plastic Eggs and Gift Cards may be brought or mailed to: Project Care and Share of Ramona, 318 Seventh Street, Ramona, CA 92065.
For more information about Project Care and Share, email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.lightofthelambministry.org.