The Story of H.O.P.E.

We change lives one by one. From our humble beginnings of serving just five families in 1997, H.O.P.E. now serves numerous families-in-need, with the demand constantly increasing, stretching our resources to the limit. Due to the economic downturn, the number of low-income families supported by H.O.P.E. has reached record heights to over 300, and since 2007, having more than doubled.

H.O.P.E. is based in Garden Grove, and offers services to residents in Orange County. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 13.9% of Garden Grove’s population, including more than 15,000 children, live under the poverty level, and this has risen in recent years. Over 16% of Orange Counties children live in poverty today.

According to the Orange County Register “More than 12 percent of school-age children in Orange County are living in poverty – the highest level since 2005 – with 3.5 times that number receiving free or subsidized meals daily, according to federal poverty data released this month.”

H.O.P.E. was founded in 1997 by Gayle Knight, the CEO, who was motivated to help turn the look of despair into hope on the faces of women and children. In 1996, A young woman 18 years old with 3 children, a victim of domestic violence needed help, and Gayle answered her call for help and became her mentor.. As a result of the struggles that Gayle saw in this young, courageous woman, she was compelled to help others such as the hurting, abandoned, abused, and those who had experienced violence. She founded the H.O.P.E. Family Support Center and has worked diligently over the years making a difference in the lives of women and children. The mission of H.O.P.E. is to provide a myriad of services to abandoned or abused women and children from disadvantaged families. Our vision is to be the best One Stop Safety Net in Orange County that turns despair into hope.

H.O.P.E. goes beyond the immediate physical needs and helps to uncover and address underlying issues in order to achieve measurable outcomes. By dealing with each client personally, and using a unique approach to every situation, H.O.P.E. helps each client to find ways to break old patterns and cycles. Rather than curing a symptom, H.O.P.E. looks to solve the problem. H.O.P.E. is governed by a Board of Directors with professionals from various community and corporate backgrounds.

Collaborative Partners

H.O.P.E. works together with over 50 other agencies, filling the gap in services to meet the needs of Orange County’s underserved or distressed families. H.O.P.E. receives clients from Orange County 211, Boys and Girls Club of Garden Grove, Lincoln Educational Center for Teen Moms, the Colony of the Arts, and Magnolia Park Focus Partners, to name a few. In addition, many of the local schools refer student’s parents to H.O.P.E. so that their children can stay healthy and in school. In return, H.O.P.E. is supported by the City of Garden Grove, who supplies warehouse space for program supplies. Also, Arbor Educational and Training Centers (CalWORKS) sends clients to H.O.P.E. to meet their volunteer commitments and on-site job training, and they, in turn, provide the resources for the food bank warehouse and distribution manpower, as well as administrative support.

The Need

Incorporated in 1997, Helping Others Prepare for Eternity (H.O.P.E.) is a One-Stop Safety Net provider, working to break multi-generational cycles of poverty, food insecurity, illiteracy and familial homelessness from all ethnicities, genders and ages. H.O.P.E.’s core services include: Basic Needs/Emergency Food Program, Helping Women Succeed (HWS), a Workforce Development Program, M&m Youth Mentor Program and Bridge of Hope a Short-Term Emergency Shelter for mothers with children. In 2016, with only three part-time employees and a volunteer CEO/Founder, H.O.P.E. served 2,853 low-income individuals. To date, in 2017, H.O.P.E. has served over 3,000 low income individuals and in August provided food to over 900 people!

Over 10% of the population in Orange County is food insecure. Further, 18% of children in O.C. ages birth to five, and 17% of children ages six to 17 are living in poverty. According to, a frightening 1 in 4 women will experience Domestic Violence in their lifetime, and more than 3 million children will witness Domestic Violence each year. Children that are raised in households with both domestic violence and poverty are very likely to abuse others due to the environment they live in. This is an unacceptable consequence. Other terrible consequences also flow from spending childhood in an abusive home. The education of these children will generally be of a lower standard, and many such children grow up without the ability to read and write or communicate clearly.