Marta often wondered why her life as a homeless person really mattered. After she was diagnosed with breast cancer, her husband passed away. She lost her job and apartment, and sold her car to buy food. Marta later learned that the cancer had spread to her bones.
Strumming for a great cause
Marta shared her story during Grandma’s House of Hope’s (GHH) 5th annual A Journey Through Hope and Healing, which took place on May 31 at the Turnip Rose-Grand Newport Plaza. Thanks to GHH, Marta received a bed, hot shower, clean clothes and nourishing meals.
“Grandma’s House of Hope’s integrated programs strive to create a sense of community, belonging and stability for our participants, in order to fight poverty ...” says Je’net Kreitner, GHH’s executive director.
Although terminally ill, Marta stood onstage with a warm smile. “Good things don’t happened to people who are trash,” Marta said to explain her confusion about the generosity of Grandma’s House of Hope.
Since its inception eight years ago, GHH has provided shelter, group and individual counseling, health services and workforce-development programs to women fighting disease, those facing homelessness and victims of human trafficking.
Kreitner knows about the heart-rending ache that accompanies homelessness. After her husband abandoned her, she lived day to day in a motel with her small son.
“One day a stranger approached me who would change my life forever,” says Kreitner. “This kind-hearted person offered us a place to live and heal. Over time, I began to rebuild my life, fell in love, married, had a second son, and adopted a teenage daughter. I re-entered the workforce, now with a passion to help those who had gone through a similar experience.”
Funds were raised at A Journey Through Hope to support GHH, with a live and silent auction. At one point, a bottle of water was auctioned off for $200. Notably, without so much as an auction card to participate, a young server who worked at the Turnip-Rose donated $100 after listening to the work of GHH, while passing out food and drinks to guests. Those active with the nonprofit made it clear that their grassroots organization continues to require community support.
For those looking to act on their altruism, Kreitner says, “Remember to offer a hand up, not a hand out. Band-Aids just cover the wound but do not treat the condition. Don’t try and reinvent the wheel; get involved with a local organization and offer to volunteer, serve on a board, donate your resources or give however you are able. If we all just felt called to help out an individual or family, we could end homelessness in Orange County.”
≈ MORE IMPORTANT EVENTS ≈• The 2nd Annual Project Access Charity Golf Tournament kicked off at Strawberry Farms Golf Club in Irvine on Monday, June 4. The tournament raised funds for Project Access, a provider in health, education and employment services to families, children and seniors living in low-income communities.
• Mission San Juan Capistrano will host the Romance on the Mission gala on Sept. 14 to benefit the iconic landmark. Jan and the Honorable H. Warren Siegel have been named honorary chairs, and actor/singer Davis Gaines will perform. The Ritz-Carlton will provide a delectable dinner. Tickets are on sale now.