The following article was originally published in the Orange County Lawyer and was written by our Partner John Fujii and THOREY M. BAUER
The Community Outreach Committee is the community volunteer arm of the Orange County Bar Association. The Committee’s goal is to assist the local community in various volunteer efforts by providing community service opportunities to the OCBA and its members. In some ways, the Committee members are the face of the OCBA as perceived by residents in Orange County. It is our hope that the Committee’s volunteer work will help to create a positive image of the OCBA and the legal profession among those in the community.
The Committee accomplishes these goals through volunteer events, donation drives, and monthly meetings. The Committee has held regularly occurring in-person volunteer events with local organizations such as the Mercy House, the Friendship Shelter, the Orange County Food Bank, the Second Harvest Food Bank, the Orangewood Children’s Home, Women Helping Women, Someone Cares Soup Kitchen, the Irvine Animal Care Center, the Newport Bay Conservancy, the Surfrider Foundation, and other local organizations.
Some of the Committee’s volunteer events are limited in size and some of the volunteer events can accommodate all who sign up. In addition, some of the events are family friendly where OCBA members bring their children, family members, and friends. Our hope is that participation in all events will give volunteers as much joy and satisfaction as the assistance volunteers provide to the community.
The Committee strives to provide at least one volunteer activity per month for OCBA members. During the past few years, the COVID pandemic has curtailed the Committee’s in-person events but this has not stopped the Committee’s efforts. Since the COVID pandemic began, on a monthly basis, the Committee has been making lunches for people experiencing homelessness with drop-off locations in northern and southern Orange County locations. The Committee also has been making dinners for residents at local shelters.
In addition, the Committee has been holding various donation drives, including a PPE drive for local hospitals and first responders, a virtual food drive for local food banks, an office supplies drive for local legal aid providers, and a toy drive for Orangewood Children’s home. In addition, every year during the holiday season, the Committee sponsors a toy drive and a Senior Santa drive.
Last fall, the Committee began holding in-person events, the first being an event in November at Someone Cares Soup Kitchen where volunteers prepared and cooked breakfast for over one hundred people. In December, the Committee held two in-person events: a pet adoption event at the Irvine Animal Care Center and a lunch bag social event held outside the office of the Elder Law and Disability Rights Center. The Committee partnered with the Young Lawyer’s Division on these two events. In addition, the Young Lawyers Division spearheaded this year’s holiday toy drive, which was the first time that the Committee worked with the Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC).
Last year, the Co-Chairs of the Community Outreach Committee were John Fujii and Jared De Jong. This year, Jared is now Co-Chair of the OCBA’s Pro Bono Committee, and Thorey Bauer replaced him as incoming Co-Chair of the Community Outreach Committee. The Committee holds monthly meetings on the first Wednesday of every month at noon. If you are interested in join- ing the Committee, interested in volunteer- ing at a particular monthly event or attending one of the Committee’s monthly meetings, or just interested in knowing more about the Committee, please feel free to contact John or Thorey.
John M. Fujii practices civil litigation, including civil rights defense, as a partner at Silver & Wright LLP. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thorey M. Bauer practices employment law, including advice and litigation, as a shareholder of Scheppach Bauer PC. He can be reached at email@example.com.
This article first appeared in Orange County Lawyer, April 2022 (Vol. 64 No. 4), p. 36. The views expressed herein are those of the author. They do not necessarily represent the views of Orange County Lawyer magazine, the Orange County Bar Association, the Orange County Bar Association Charitable Fund, or their staffs, contributors, or advertisers. All legal and other issues must be independently researched.