September is turning out to be a month for lifting up those in need in our Long Beach community, starting with the AIDS Food Store Fundraiser coming up this Saturday and now the Christian Outreach in Action (COA) "Waves of Change" Fundraiser taking place the following week on Friday, September 19.
Whether you're a Christian, a Buddhist, an Atheist or you're just not sure, COA encourages community members to help feed the hungry and mentor those that need a little extra help getting back on their feet.
"We are compelled by the need around us to feed the hungry, and shelter the homeless, provide spiritual support to the emotionally weak, heal the sick," their mission statement reads, "and to ultimately teach them the skills necessary to reach and sustain self-sufficiency."
As a nondenominational nonprofit that is not a church, the 34-year-old organization follows the faith-based teachings that compel believers to help those in need—but religious or not, one can certainly agree that helping those in need is simply a good thing to do.
The COA's 13th Annual Fundraiser, entitled "Waves of Change," will be held at the Long Beach Marriott and will feature a hosted wine bar and hors d'oevres reception with a silent auction, followed by music dinner and a live auction. Tickets are $100 per person, with all the proceeds benefitting the COA's mission to serve the community by feeding and guiding those that are physically and spiritually hungry.
Beth Ciceri, second chair of the fundraiser committee, explained that five years ago the fundraiser was being held in a church basement whereas last year the event made $68,000 and this year they're hoping to make $75,000 or more. While the piority is to ensure that less people go hungry, COA has grown to include more programs. Ciceri said, "We have a clothing giveaway, once a week people can stop by and pick up free clothes, we serve breakfast five times a week, we have a holiday party... Last year there were approximately 2000 people that came through the doors, there were crafts for the kids, it's just an amazing event."
Other programs include getting COA recepients ready to apply for jobs, this includes computer and job training, while more practical skills are also taught such as how to cook a healthy meal for under $20. Ciceri said, "Pretty much the only paid employee at COA is the executive director, everyone else is a volunteer." And many of the volunteers have been recepients of COA's services, one of the main reasons being that they can better understand the newcomers in need.
According to the press release, the live auction boasts a variety of activities, such as a Zulu Nyala African Adventure, a High Performance Car racing adventure, a week at a Bass Lake cabin, dinner with Long Beach's community action leader, Justin Rudd and a hosted cocktail party for 20 with a lively dance lesson given by a noted professional. During the fundraiser, several Long Beach community leaders will be honored. Former mayor Beverly O'Neill, Community Action Team Leader, Justin Rudd and CEO of The Children's Clinic Dr. Elisa Nicholas, who is also a founding member of the Long Beach Alliance for Children with Asthma.
Waves of Change will be hosted at the Long Beach Marriott, located at 4700 Airport Plaza Dr, on September 19 at 6PM. For more information and to request an invitation, please contact COA at 562-432-1440 or visit the website at visit their website. COA is located at 515 E. 3rd St., Long Beach.