In 1994 a recently divorced, 41 year old mother of two boys found herself struggling to pay bills and handle car repairs, and other problems with no one she could talk to. This mom, Debbie Quick, put an ad in a local paper for any other single mothers who would like to get together and share their stories and struggles and be a support for one another. In 1995 in her Santa Clarita, CA living room the first meeting of Single Mothers Outreach was held. The group organized a closet of gently used clothes donated by the community as well as groceries allowing moms in need the ability to get free clothes for themselves and their kids as well as a few days worth of groceries. Seven years later it opened its first storefront in Canyon Country.
The business functioned as a drop-in type service for years for people who were in crises providing the free clothes and food to those in need. In 2007 they restructured and partnered with various organizations in the region in order to expand their services. In 2013 SMO moved to Savia Community Partnership along with the Domestic Violence Center of Santa Clarita and A Light of Hope so the organizations could all work together to help families in crises. Their building was underwritten by members of Real Life Church in order to save SMO’s funding for their programs. In February of 2013 they opened Closet on Main which is a boutique clothing store whose proceeds help fund the organization and also provides retail management training for some of the women they are helping.
Their primary focus is single moms due to the fact that they tend to fall into a lower economic status but they also serve single dads as well. Over 60% of those they help have income levels under $15,000 per year and you may be surprised to know most are not those who left their marriages due to domestic violence but rather horrible divorce scenarios where one parent has completely walked away from the family.
They offer financial literacy programs from Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University as well as technical training, job search skills, group sessions and other resources.
DaAnne Smith is the current director of Single Mothers Outreach and had previously spent years on the board of directors. Motivating her is a desire to see people’s lives transform from near hopeless situations to confidence that they can make it in their new life with the knowledge that there are others that care and who they can lean on for support.
They would love someday to see chapters open in other communities. Seeing people rise above their circumstances and not stay defeated as a victim helps the person, the family, the community and ultimately the nation.
To date SMO has helped more than 2,200 single parent homes get back on their feet, gain independence and support.
For more information you can find them at http://singlemothersoutreach.org/.
This post is part of the Nester’s 31 Day Challenge; Writing on the same topic each day of the month of October. Click on over to the Challenge to find a number of topics and authors ranging from Simplicity & Organizing to Personal Endeavors. You can head back here and scroll to the bottom of this post for a listing of all 31 days of Good News & Good People Doing Good Things.