As part of the Sri Sathya Sai International Organisation’s initiative to adopt at least 95 needy communities globally, SSIO USA Region 8 has been serving needy school children and their families in the Santa Ana community since January 2014.

Currently, Region 8 of SSIO USA support six Santa Ana schools and two organizations: Olive Crest that supports neglected and abused kids, and Boys and Girls Club that supports families living under the poverty line.

Many students in this community are unable to attend school because they lack basic necessities including, for example, shoes, eyeglasses, backpacks and shampoo to treat head lice. The SSIO volunteers in USA Region 8 decided to help.

One family with four children would send only one child at a time to school on a rotating basis. School officials went to the home to investigate and found that the family had only one pair of shoes for the four children, so they could only send one child at a time to school. Region 8 SSIO provided shoes for all the children in this family, and now all four children come to school every day.

Fifty families selected by the school are served monthly with baskets of staple groceries, including pinto beans, rice, pasta, pasta sauce, corn masa flour, oat mix, macaroni and cheese, cooking oil and granola bars, providing the children a chance to attend school with proper nutrition at home. In the last year 100 pairs of shoes and 200 containers of lice shampoo have been donated to the needy. In some cases, families have also been provided with mattresses, as multiple families may share an apartment without enough mattresses.

In addition to serving the Santa Ana school children, SSIO volunteers also serve the community by preparing and serving hot breakfast and hot lunch to about 1,500 Santa Ana homeless every month.

This loving service has expanded to include the Huntington Park community, the Olive Crest organisation (supports neglected and abused kids), and the Boys and Girls club (supports families living under the poverty line). Many community members, including the mayor of Huntington Park, have been inspired to expand on this type of service to community members in need.

Post-COVID, SSIO USA Region 8 has been delivering staple food items to 15 Santa Ana families each week between Friday and Sunday through Instacart delivery service. Additional 15-20 families receive food deliveries through the Olive Crest Organization that supports neglected and abused kids In Huntington, SSIO USA Region 8 will be providing food baskets consisting of 50lbs of staple food items to over 200 families on August 2, 2020. Volunteers will continue to provide these food baskets to 100 Huntington families every month until December 2020.