Orange County Rescue Mission needs cold weather donations for adults and children

TUSTIN, Calif.

Officials are seeing more people in need this year than in the past at the Orange County Rescue Mission.

"There's a much larger need now that we've been in a number of years of this recession," said Jim Palmer, president of the OC Rescue Mission. "But we also see that there's very little donation because it was just a couple weeks ago we had fire watches and it was very warm weather, so people haven't really thought to donate some of their used jackets."

With recent colder temperatures, the Rescue Mission hopes to collect enough jackets, blankets, socks and sleeping bags to distribute on the streets of Orange County, where some estimate nearly 30,000 people are homeless.

Eric Miller, 45, spent more than four years on the street. He is now helping as a cook at the Rescue Mission. He remembers what it's like to be homeless this time of year.

"I ate out of trashcans. I lived in cardboard boxes. I used to wrap myself up in the winter with newspaper," said Miller.

According to a 2011 census and survey of Orange County homeless, more than 40 percent cited job loss as their main reason for being without a home.

With higher food costs, the Rescue Mission says canned goods, dairy products and fresh produce are in demand as much as winter clothes.

Mission officials say there is a great need for warm clothing, and not just for adults, but also for children.

"In Orange County we see an awful lot of children that are homeless because of the cost of housing being so much for some of these young families, a lot of times you see a single mom with a number of kids that are on the street," said Palmer.

Copyright © 2021 KABC-TV. All Rights Reserved.