FRIENDS of DSS
FRIENDS was launched by five Orange County women in 1992 in order to help the staff of the Orange County Department of Social Services (OCDSS) meet the needs of their clients. FRIENDS is a private, nonprofit organization that provides emergency assistance to clients of the Orange County Department of Social Services when funding resources cannot be obtained elsewhere. Forms of assistance provided by FRIENDS include:
- emergency utility assistance
- emergency rent or security deposits
- thrift store vouchers for clothing
- food distribution
- household items
- emergency pharmacy expenses
- school supplies for students
- camp scholarships
FRIENDS is not a part of OCDSS. It is governed by a board of 10 directors, all of whom are volunteers. Clients of OCDSS do not contact FRIENDS directly. To preserve the anonymity of clients, FRIENDS interacts only with social workers to learn what resources are needed by clients. FRIENDS financial resources come from donations and membership fees, as well local grants.
FRIENDS is currently launching a new project titled, Partner with a Social Worker. This project matches local churches and synagogues with social workers in order to provide household items to clients of OCDSS. The goal of the program is to reduce the amount of time social workers spend acquiring material goods for clients, thus maximizing the time available for counseling. FRIENDS is currently seeking congregations to participate in the program.