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Cold Weather Shelter (Santa Ana)

Update:  Sorry, unfortunately this volunteer opportunity is canceled. The shelter closed early this season. Thank you for your willingness to help.[masked]-fullerton-county.html

The National Guard Armories in Santa Ana & Fullerton will be used as shelters between November and April.

Mercy House needs volunteers every day, (7 days a week), during the mornings (5-7am) and evenings (5-8pm).

"The homeless receive a nutritious meal, a warm shower, a safe place to sleep, and access to valuable social services. Volunteers are needed to help with setting up tables and chairs, cleaning and putting out the sleeping mats, assisting with client registration, setting out snacks, passing out donations, serving dinner, and cleaning up. Volunteers must be at least 10 years old and those who are under 18 must have a guardian with them at all times. All volunteers must also sign and return a waiver before volunteering at the Armory."

Waivers are available at the armory or print a copy ahead of time.

A few dates have been scheduled for our group (see Calendar), but if anyone wants to help on other days, feel free to sign up on your own at

Description of volunteer tasks



Personal note: This event isn't for everyone. On any given night, over 100 people may stay at this shelter.  Volunteers will be in close proximity and/or have direct interaction with the homeless. Not everyone may be comfortable in this kind of environment.  This event is sobering, eye-opening and humbling. Some volunteers may later feel more grateful about life, more appreciative of what they have, and more thankful for their family & friends. So if anyone does decide to participate with this, keeping an open mind & having a big heart are recommended. Thank you. Please understand, my intention isn't to scare or discourage anyone...heck, girl scouts and children have helped before...I just don't want anyone to be surprised, shocked or mad/unhappy.

Sometimes other volunteers show up and they have too many.  Sometimes too few show up and sometimes just the right number attend.  It can be unpredictable. So there may not always be enough "work" for everyone if they have a lot of volunteers, so please be understanding & patient with whatever happens.

Most people at the shelter are well-behaved, respectful, and safe/harmless. Nevertheless, if a problem arises or if anyone feels uncomfortable, immediately contact a Mercy House staff member or a security guard.

Security guards are always present, as well as Mercy House staff members, and occasionally some National Guard Reserve service members.

Mercy House recommends dressing casual/conservative and wearing comfortable shoes.

Given the time/duration of this event, consider eating a late lunch or early dinner.  Also, after volunteering, if leaving alone, sometimes one of the security guards is stationed outside the armory.  However, if one isn't, please ask one to escort you to your vehicle. Thank you!

Donating shoes & clothes (e.g. sweaters, jackets, pants, etc..) are appreciated. New socks and underwear are often requested.

Here's a news story -

Note: Taking photos/pictures inside the armory is prohibited.[masked]-shelter-haynes.html

The following are from the OC Register:

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