Family Assistance Ministries is a faith-based charitable non-profit organization assisting those in need in Orange County with resources for food, shelter, and personalized supportive counsel and aid, helping clients bridge the gap from dependency to self-sufficiency.
FAM was founded in 1999 by Ellen Gilchrist to accommodate the families that a local church was no longer able to serve.
The first case in September 1999 provided rental assistance to FAM's first client. Eviction was avoided, and within 30 days the individual got a full-time job and soon became a self-sufficient and productive member of the community.
This humble story articulates the vision of FAM—helping people on the brink of homelessness to become self-sufficient.
Ultimately, our focus is on prevention.
Today FAM provides food, shelter, and client aid to tens of thousands in Orange County. We provide assistance for utilities, transportation, medical, dental, and prescription drugs, as well as financial counseling, free income tax preparation and collaboration with other social services organizations to provide referrals and medical screenings, immunizations, eye glasses, and much more!
FAM belongs to several collaborative and social services regional groups in order to provide full services to those in need.
In 2015, FAM had over 50,000 encounters with people in need, with 40% of them minor children. Nearly $1.8 million in food to the hungry was distributed throughout Orange County and over $120,000 in cash aid was granted in the form of vouchers and bills paid.
FAM also sheltered 60 women—many with young children—in our interim/transitional shelter, Gilchrist House.
Without dedicated and talented volunteers, who served over 12,000 hours in 2015, FAM would not be able to achieve its mission.
FAM Quick Facts
- Over 56,506 encounters with children and adults
- 11,000 unique people were reached
- Over 46% of those reached are children under 18
- 15% of people FAM reaches are seniors, a growing vulnerable population
- 92 homeless mothers and children and single women were sheltered through Gilchrist House, FAM’s interim homeless shelter
- $78,000 in rental assistance prevented homelessness
- $47,000 rapidly rehoused homeless off the streets
- $29,000 in transportation assistance enabled clients to make it to Drs. appointments, job interviews, work, and provided car repairs and registration
- $21,000 helped keep lights, gas and water on to avoid shut-off of utilities
- $43,000 helped San Clemente Seniors remain or become stably housed
- 480 students received back-to-school supplies, helping to begin the school year equipped to learn
- 2,759 Thanksgiving meals were provided to hungry people
- 900 children were adopted for Christmas by our amazing donors
- 545 children met Santa Claus, received 2 toys and a new pair of shoes
- 781,199 pounds of food redistributed
- 150 weekly volunteers provided 12,225 hours of service
- $2 million in food, personal care items, and clothing were redistributed to people in need
- All clients meet with a case manager to create a working budget in order to begin making the tough decisions needed to regain self-sufficiency
- All cash aid is paid directly to service providers