One of the traditions at Third and Ash, where First Lutheran Church and TACO (Third Avenue Charitable Organization) are located, is our annual Christmas drive. For the past twelve years, TACO has solicited donations used to buy sleeping bags, tarps, duffle bags, and other items useful to those living on the street, and wrapped them as Christmas gifts to our homeless neighborhors.
Now, we're asking for your help to make this happen! A $25 donation buys a single gift - even just one can be a great relief for someone in a vulnerable situation during the coldest and wettest part of the year. With your help, we can be better neighbors to the homeless community of downtown San Diego.
Over forty years ago, First Lutheran Church in downtown San Diego started "Bread Day," a program that baked bread and invited people to fellowship on the patio. Their hope was it would bring in people on a break from work, but largely those people did not come.
Instead, they began to meet a new set of neighbors: the homeless, working poor, and low-income elderly of downtown San Diego. And Bread Day served them as it had served those before them. In 1995, First Lutheran sought to expand the services they provided, and so Third Avenue Charitable Organization (TACO) was born, a 501(c)3 organization that now provides not only meals but also social services, counseling, an end-of-life program for those terminally ill on the street, clothes, and hygiene items. We also partner with educational institutions to provide free clinics: medical (with the UCSD Free Clinic Project), dental (with the Pre-Dental Society of San Diego County), legal (with the Community Law Project at Cal Western School of Law), and acupuncture (with the Pacific College of Oriental Medicine).