But in Brentwood there’s a nonprofit agency that’s especially aware of residents’ needs, not only during the holidays but throughout the year. For many, according to Felicitas Ochoa, executive secretary for Delta Community Services Inc. (DCSI), the need for help is great – and ongoing.
“We take on projects as they are needed, and they are needed all year,” said Ochoa. “We see requests for everything from baby strollers and groceries to healthcare and washers and dryers. A lot of people are feeling the pinch.”
Located in the Brentwood Women’s Club at 730 Third St., DCSI is an information and referral service with deep roots in the community. Originally established in the mid-1970s by a group of volunteers who applied for a federal grant to help bring county services to Brentwood, the grass-roots organization, despite a number of different locations, has continued to serve the community in a variety of venues, including human resources, community outreach and emergency services. In the past few months, DCSI has collected and donated Tri Delta bus passes to residents, worked with local organizations to assist low-income residents and seniors with their utility and rent obligations, partnered with the Lions Club to provide eyeglasses and hearing aids to the public, and provided clothing and housing essentials to local families.
Each year DCSI also works with the public to provide holiday gifts to local families through an adopt-a-family program.
And recently through a private donation, DCSI was able to secure a 2002 Dodge minivan to a Brentwood family whose broken car had left the family’s only breadwinner without transportation.
It is these stories, said Ochoa, that best illustrate the spirit of the community and purpose of DCSI: “There are just so many people out there that don’t have the simplest things that they need. I remember the woman who needed that car (van), and I said to her that she better start praying because I can’t work miracles. But lo and behold, when I got to work the next day I had found someone who had a van to donate. People are very giving.”
And now as the holiday season is well underway, many are looking for ways to give back to the community and make a difference in someone’s life.
One of those ways is through a fundraising event called Feed the Children. Now in its second season, the event is collaboration between DCSI and more than 80 volunteers in the Summerset community who gather, organize and deliver gift and grocery bags to local residents. Last year, the group collected more than 900 bags of food and thousands of dollars in vouchers from local businesses.
This year, said Jean Romer, organizer of the project, they’re hoping to do even better: “We’ve got thousands of grocery bags to get filled and the community response has been great. We expect to have a good turnout – and it’s needed; you’d be surprised how many children are living in cars and hovels. It’s awful.”
The Feed the Children campaign will continue through Dec. 9. Donations of food and other items, as well as monetary gifts, are welcome. For more information or to volunteer, call the DCSI office at 925-634-8275.