LAKESIDE, Calif. (KGTV) -- A woman's effort to help the homeless in Lakeside has grown into a larger mission run by another member of the community with even bigger aspirations to bring "Hope to The Homeless."
"We wanted to provide something for them to stay a little more human," Barbara De Young said in January 2020 as she led ABC 10News to her "Goodies to Share" cabinet for the homeless living along San Vicente Creek in Lakeside.
A year later, that gesture has transformed into a much larger mission headed by another member of the community, Judy Scheuer.
"I had a friend whose tree, orange tree, was overgrown with oranges and she needed help picking them," explained Scheuer. "I said, 'I'll pick them for you and I'll take them to the homeless. That's how it started for me on that part of it."
Like others, Scheuer was driven by her heart to help the less fortunate. But she also set out to maximize her compassion by creating an official nonprofit known as "Hope for The Homeless."
"You get more support that way," said Scheuer. "You're more legitimate and it allows people to get tax donations for the things they donate. You know, I've got people who pledged a subscription monthly for the Dumpster, and they're not going to do that if you're not a nonprofit."
Scheuer was referring to a Dumpster put in place by San Diego County with temporary funding. It's now supported long-term by the nonprofit, along with hand-washing stations and a port-a-potty.
"That helps the community too," said Scheuer. "To keep the area clean. More environmentally clean."
Scheuer said that's a goal that became especially urgent with the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.
"Every week, we take out hygiene products, oranges, dog food (for pets), trash bags. Things like that so they can stay healthy," Scheuer said.
But she sees this as just the beginning.
"I'd like them to have a place where they can go to take showers," said Scheuer. "And wash their clothes and have help getting to the services they need and find jobs or whatever they can do."
Asked if she's concerned these efforts will attract more homeless, Scheuer said that "Hope For the Homeless" has done surveys and found those living by the creek are from Lakeside. And like the larger community, they appreciate what's being done to get them back on their feet.
"I sent you a picture of the little note they left in the cubby," said Scheuer with a smile. "Just saying, 'Thank you so much. We appreciate what you're doing.' They're very grateful and very receptive to talking with me."
Scheuer is also talking with the county, recently meeting with a representative from Supervisor Joel Anderson's office about the prospects of building a better-equipped camp for the homeless.