HELP of Ojai was originally founded by a collaboration of churches and others in the Ojai Valley in 1968. The focus at the time was coordinating volunteer efforts to care for those community members “in need”. As the needs and demographics of our valley have changed over the years, HELP has endeavored to meet the challenges of our diverse population by introducing new ways to help and expanding existing programs.
Through the years HELP of Ojai has impacted the valley in many ways :
- 1974 – HELP filed incorporation papers and received its first federal grant from RSVP “Retired Senior Volunteer Program”.
- 1979 – HELP’s “Little House” location served its first hot meals for seniors and launched a number of new programs.
- 1982 – HELP launched 2nd Helpings Thrift Store which has proven to be a critical source of operating income for HELP’s programs.
- 1984 – HELP began to work on offering a senior day care center.
- 1997 – HELP began a partnership with the Ministerial Association to establish a clearinghouse for the homeless and nearly homeless community members.
- 2006 – HELP acquired the lease from the County of Ventura for the Baldwin Road West Campus. The plan for West Campus includes expansion of existing programs and development of new programs to continue to benefit the citizens of the Ojai Valley.
HELP of Ojai’s mission is to fulfill the basic unmet needs of vulnerable Ojai Valley residents. We bring together individual and community resources to provide safety net services to reach those who need it most. We prioritize our help to reach senior citizens, low-income families with minor children, and homeless individuals. We emphasize sustainable housing support, healthy food, and healthcare for those we assist. We strive to provide programs and services that improve quality of life for our clients, and we work to create community dialogue and prepare for emerging social issues and trends.
Steve Bennett, Supervisor District 1 of Ventura County, has described HELP of Ojai as “One of the strongest and best safety nets in Ventura County.”
HELP of Ojai’s enduring goal is to bolster ordinary people facing extraordinary circumstances: the isolated senior needing access to food and medical care; the family in need of respite for caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s; the low-income family at risk of being evicted; the school-aged child seeking counseling. HELP is the only agency in Ojai that meets these needs and more, year after year, thanks in large part to wonderful support from our community.
As we move onto new opportunities before us, we continue to be committed to the vision and evolving scope of a program that was founded on the hope of making a difference.
40 years later, making a difference
remains the central reason that
we do what we do to serve our community.