SPIRIT of Santa Paula is a 501C3 non-profit religious corporation established in 2002 to help the community work through the divisive issues of growth/no-growth. That all changed on Christmas Eve 2008 when we found a homeless man dead in one of our churches.
National Day of Prayer – SPIRIT is the coordinator for the National Day of Prayer held the first Thursday in May of each year. It is conducted in the Judeo-Christian tradition.
Many Meals - This program provides a free, hot, generous and nutritious meal to people who are homeless, at risk, or having a hard time providing for themselves and their families. It is a place for fellowship, greetings, sharing of food supplies including fresh vegetables, bread, cereals, milk and a variety of food stuffs. It is a place where people can donate community service hours in exchange for fines and jail terms. It has become a ministry within the community of Santa Paula that was not intended but has been embraced. SPIRIT is an agency of Food Share. The director has a SafeServ Food Certification.
Richard’s Drop-In Center - Located at 113 North Mill Street, Santa Paula CA - This service is available each week day from 9 to noon. Homeless people can come for encouragement, real food and coffee, tea, juices, and a real lunch. Those who need it for any reason can get a lunch or dinner “to go”. Four of the five days offer drug and alcohol counseling or Bible Study with a local pastor.
Prescriptions – We assist homeless and the very poor with co-payments to be sure they get their medications. We also direct them to agencies that provide insurance or other assistance. In some cases we will intervene with physicians to get medications exchanged or dosages re-adjusted so the medication is affordable.
USDA Distribution on Saturdays – Each Saturday morning between 8 and 9 am, SPIRIT distributes between 1 and 2 tons of food to income qualified families. Supplies are frozen meat, canned vegetables and soups, beans and rice, canned fruit. We make a trip to FOOD Share on Fridays for free shopping of produce and dairy for this distribution.
Food Panty – We have a well-stocked panty and provide food on emergency basis. We often deliver to those who are home bound or without transportation.
Food Sources – We pick up food from a variety of sources each week. Albertsons in Simi Valley, Whole Foods on Saturday mornings, Winco on Sunday morning, and FOOD Share on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Utilities and Rent – United Way provides a grant of approximately $10,000 to assist families in staying sheltered by helping with utilities and rent payments.
Homeless Court Advocacy – SPIRIT is approved by County Superior Court to work with people who need to work community service hours as part of probation or payment or citations.
Pastoral Visits into the Jails – Kay Wilson-Bolton is approved by Ventura County Sheriff’s Department to have pastoral visits to inmates. We also provide free notary services to inmates who often need to transact business for the family while incarcerated.
Homeless Count – SPIRIT takes the local lead in working with the County of Ventura for the annual Homeless Count which determines what level of services come into the area. We don’t particularly need the services to come to Santa Paula. We provide transportation for those who need to get to the services.
Food Rescue – With our training in food safety, we are able to pick up left over food supplies from parties, funerals, fund raisers and local trusted caterers. We have 15 refrigerators and freezers available to us in three locations. We move food quickly through the drop-in center, Many Meals and church services and bible studies through the week.
Biblical Counseling – There are three trained biblical counselors who work with a variety of the population to help people understand and know how God can change their lives.
Mediation – SPIRIT also provides free neighborhood mediation when families are in dispute and need resolution. One board member is a co-mediator in Ventura County Superior Court.
Police Clergy Council – This organization is a support to the local police department to help bring peace to the City. It was formed in 2009 as a project of SPIRIT.
Light of the City – SPIRIT supports many activities in the background including the Skate Park event where 700 local kids participated. Hot dogs, chips and sodas were provided to the event and paid for by SPIRIT.
Cooperation with the Health Clinic – TB tests, emergency visits, and special consultations when necessary.
Chaplain Visits to the Hospital – The Director of SPIRIT is a Chaplain with Ventura County Fire Department and is often called on to visit homeless people who receive emergency treatments or to ministers to families with loved ones in ICU.
Rescue Mission: This wonderful organization provides us with certificates for free glasses to those who cannot afford them.
Richard’s Winter Shelter – For three years we operated the Winter Shelter providing three meals to homeless people and sheltering them from 5 pm to 7 am.
Richard’s Family Shelter – In 2009, Wells Fargo Bank donated a three bedroom home to SPIRIT. It served over 60 people (including two newborns) over a period of three years. The project was transitioned out when case management became too difficult.
OH Yeah! Cleaning, Clearing and Hauling – This is for-profit enterprise which puts people back to work. We collect estate items and either sell them to support our programs or donate them to needy families. Employees are covered by liability insurance and Workman’s Comp.
SPIRIT of Santa Paula is a 501C2 and was formed in 2001 during a testy time in Santa Paula over the issues related to growth--or "no growth." We want to "do good things" and take our role in Santa Paula life very seriously.
We serve the community quietly in dozens of ways: from food, to clothes, utilities and rental assistance, tutoring, counseling and neighborhood mediation. We serve at least 600 peoples every Wednesday at the First Presbyterian Church. We have a drop-in center for homeless and hungry folks who need some nourishment and encouragement. We serve at-risk kids and their troubled parents.
Serve the least powerful and most vulnerable people among us.