Another Charity for the Needy Victimized

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Southwest Community Center, before the flames.
"'Tis the Season to Bone Nonprofits, Fa La La La La, La La La La" talked about how thieves, embezzlers and other assorted Grinches have stolen Christmas from several Orange County nonprofits that help children, battered women and needy families.

The hits keep coming, with Southwest Community Center in Santa Ana suffering a loss of food and 1,000 donated gifts for the least among us. But this time the Scrooge was not another greedy bastard. It was fire.
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Working the line.

Santa Ana Fire believes the blaze that took them about a half hour to knock out began in the backyard at 1601 W. Second St. some time before midnight and was probably accidental, possibly electrical. The outdoor patio was completely engulfed, an office was slightly damaged and there was smoke throughout the main structure.

But the biggest loss was the foodstuff, which was to be distributed to 250 families and seniors at an Adopt-A-Family event this weekend, and Christmas presents for 800 needy children.

"There was a lot of stuff they had stored here and they lost their entire stock,"Santa Ana Fire Capt. Chris Caswell told the Orange County Register.

Like many nonprofits, Southwest Community Center had humble beginnings. Annie Mae Tripp, a domestic worker with seven children, struggled to make ends meet but seeing the hungry and homeless in the streets of Santa Ana, she thought she could help. She began by serving meals of soup and bread to 12 homeless men from her garage in 1970. She rented a building and began her ministry to the poor the following year.

Tripp passed away in 1986 at age 73, but her Southwest Community Center carries on, serving more than 10,000 meals a month, distributing clothing and food baskets and providing other services.

It could use help now.

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