SAN DIEGO — Giving Tuesday is an opportunity to help organizations that support San Diegans going through tough times. In this Zevely Zone, I profiled the incredible work being done by the Lucky Duck Foundation. Instead of a roof over their heads, many San Diegans living with homelessness must settle for the shade of a tree and that's why they are so grateful for the food that keeps coming.
For the past 13 years, rain or shine, Regina Gamboa has been feeding the hungry. "Let's get you guys some food. There you go, sweetie. We've got cheese, crackers, some more protein and we always have to have our fruit," said Regina while feeding the homeless.
"Why do I do it? I don't want to get emotional. I have a purpose and I have a passion." Regina is the Executive Director of Project 1:1. She receives food and water to give to the homeless from the Lucky Duck Foundation.
The organization was formed in 2005 by Pat & Stephanie Kilkenny to raise funds and awareness for numerous charitable causes throughout San Diego.
Lucky Duck Foundation board member Mitch Mitchell says volunteers are now feeding 1,000 people a day. "People always remember to give during the holidays but homelessness is a problem that exists all year," said Mitch.
The Lucky Duck Foundation has funded, activated, and led numerous high-impact initiatives that alleviate the suffering of homelessness throughout San Diego. The group has funded region-wide employment and job training programs across a multitude of industries including culinary, community beautification, food rescue, trash cleanup, certificate programs, and more.
The foundation has also purchased and distributed more than 5,000 winter coats that fold out into sleeping bags.
"In the daytime, they can wear it as a coat but at night the whole thing opens up and it becomes a sleeping bag for them," said Regina as she handed one to Mikey.
After four years of homelessness, Mikey is ready for rehab. "We've got resources for you," said Regina. Mikey is getting a driver's license and a van and leaving the streets behind.
"You know what? Give me a hug man, I am so proud of you," said Regina who was a drug addict herself. "We come here without judgment on these people," said Regina who has been sober for 35 years. "Any one of us that made a bad decision in our life or in our youth could be stuck on the street," said Regina.
We then met Roxane. Regina told us, "Roxanne was the first person I helped. My very first one." Roxane was brought to tears describing the dignity she feels no longer using the bathroom in a bush. "She gives me so much hope,' said Roxane.
Regina contacted county officials and asked to place a portable bathroom and washing station where the homeless live. On this Giving Tuesday, she hopes you support the Lucky Duck Foundation.
"It's a great organization. We couldn't do it without them," she said.
The Lucky Duck Foundation is also increasing access to mental health support services for homeless veterans and active engagement with Veterans Village of San Diego.
Pat & Stephanie Kilkenny match all donations up to $1 million per year. If you'd like to make a donation or learn more about the Lucky Duck Foundation click here.
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