2019 Strategic Grant
Legal-name: Christian Outreach in Action
Previous-name: Dixie Dohrmann
Address: 515 East Third Street
City: Long Beach
Ranking-title: Dixie Dohrmann, Executive Director
First-name: Kavya Velagapudi
Title: Grant Writer
Textarea-499: Christian Outreach in Action requests a grant to support our programs that provide hunger relief and safety net for families and seniors.
What-is-project: COA’s programs provide a safety-net for families on the verge of homelessness and hunger. The majority of those COA serves are hard-working individuals with one or more jobs, but facing difficult choices like paying rent or paying for their family’s next meal. With the help of the Long Beach Community Foundation grant, COA will serve over 13,000 unduplicated low-income individuals during the grant year.
COA serves low-income individuals and families in Long Beach and the South Bay. With the help of more than 900 volunteers and in-kind support from community partners, restaurants, and businesses, COA provides hunger relief programs and basic necessities to those in need:
• Meal Program – COA serves more than 130,000 hot meals annually, reaching an estimated 5,000 low-income individuals. We are proud to be the only organization in Long Beach to serve hot meals 7-days-a-week.
• Social Services – Reaching an estimated 5,000 individuals per year, COA’s growing social services include a food bank, clothing, and household items bank, a diaper bank, and pet food bank.
• Men’s Housing Program – Helps 12 chronically homeless individuals stay off the streets every year.
• Community Outreach – COA hosts outreach events such as the Christmas celebration, Easter party, and Senior Days, where hot meals are served, medical screenings are provided for seniors, and giveaways include groceries, clothing and community referrals. COA now offers a mobile clinic for medical care that an emergency room cannot provide and a legal clinic. An estimated 3,000 individuals are served every year through Community Outreach.
How-will-you-succeed: As a grass-roots organization that provides meals and other necessities to Long Beach’s most needy residents, COA tracks the number of meals provided every day; groceries and food distributed through the food bank; and clothing and diapers given to individuals and families. COA tracks participation numbers for all programs to track the number of clients served each year. A few surveys are administered to participants to track objectives discussed earlier.
COA also tracks the in-kind donations received every year to estimate the amount of food rescued and diverted from landfills. Survey results and output data is monitored throughout the year. Evaluation data are shared with the staff and board. If necessary, changes are made to program delivery to ensure COA is meeting the needs of individuals and families in need. For example, COA decided to serve meals during the weekends based on the need for food during the weekends, when other services are closed to those in need.
During the grant year, COA will measure and communicate the results of our work against the following targets:
– Rescue and re-distribute more than $300,000 worth of food and products to those in need.
– Provide 130,000 hot meals to approximately 5,000 low-income individuals.
– Supply 50,000 bags of groceries and produce.
– Serve approximately 5,000 individuals through social services such as the food bank, clothing and household items bank, diaper bank, pet food bank, and a computer lab.
– Reach 3,000 individuals through community outreach programs such as the mobile clinic, legal clinic, and other events, including providing 2,000 low-income children and their family members with holiday events with hot meals and groceries to take home.
– Reach at least 700 low-income seniors through six Senior Days where seniors can take medical screenings, groceries and produce to take home, and socialize with other seniors in the community.
Since 2014, COA has taken several steps to ensure the long-term sustainability of the organization. COA closed the women’s housing program, which was duplicating other programs in Long Beach. In 2016, COA opened a thrift and vintage store, Clark & Atherton Mercantile, to diversify its funding portfolio. The income from the store supplements private donations to support our programs. COA focuses on hosting small fundraising events throughout the year and secures in-kind donations.
Who-are-you: COA has been serving food and providing essential services in Long Beach since 1981. COA was incorporated in 1981 as a non-denominational organization by Jack Jensen, a successful businessman whose vision was that individuals whose lives had been impacted by alcoholism could have meaning, purpose and a path to recovery. COA’s primary site is located in the historic First Methodist Episcopal Church in downtown Long Beach. In 1980, COA purchased the building to conduct emergency food and shelter programs and for its administrative offices. The facility includes a large kitchen and dining room where COA staff and volunteers serve meals daily.
In the last three years, COA has significantly expanded its scope and reach of services. COA now serves 10,000 more hot meals annually than we did just three years ago. COA is the ONLY organization serving meals every day of the week in Long Beach. Attendance at Senior Days has increased from 200 to 700 in a single year. COA rescues more food than ever before and distributes more than 50,000 bags of food–up from 25,000 bags of food just a few years ago. Most recently, COA added a mobile clinic and a legal clinic to best serve the needs of our clients.
COA collaborates with local churches to enlist volunteers to prepare and serve meals. COA partners with local restaurants, grocery stores, and convention centers to rescue food that would otherwise end up in landfills. Two years ago, COA also tripled the number of volunteers to 970 total volunteers who help prepare and serve meals, sort donations and coordinate our services.
COA collaborates with Dignity Health Senior Wellness Center, Little Brown Church, SCAN Health, Meals on Wheels, Heart of Ida, Food Finders, Food Forward, and local grocery stores that donate produce and services. The Children’s Clinic provides a mobile clinic two days a week.
COA fills gaps in services and our programs are unduplicated in Long Beach. After learning there is a need for meals in Long Beach when all other organizations are closed, COA began to offer hot meals for anyone in need on Sundays.
With the help of funders such as Long Beach Community Foundation, COA would be able to continue to fill a critical need in our community and reach over 13,000 individuals in need every year.