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ORANGE COUNTY PERSPECTIVE : Good Neighbors Come in All Shapes

None too soon, Share Our Selves on Thursday will reopen its food, clothing and financial assistance program at new quarters in Costa Mesa. The 20-year-old charity--Orange County’s largest--shut down those services last June when it was evicted from the city’s Rea Community Center under pressure from neighbors. Since then, thousands who have nowhere else to turn have been deprived of help while SOS found and refurbished a new home.

SOS will now be in an industrialized part of the city, but there are businesses and homes nearby. Fearing the worst, some area residents have already objected, and more complaints are expected once the operation gets under way.

While the concerns of neighbors are understandable, compassion and patience are in order. The people who come to SOS for assistance do so because they have nowhere else to turn. Hundreds of families can feed and clothe their children or keep a roof over their heads because SOS is there. The poor are entitled to be treated with dignity.

It’s also incumbent upon SOS to be a good neighbor. That means listening and responding to complaints from neighbors and working with the community to minimize the impact of the clients who come there for help. The new location is a chance to start over, and we wish the agency a long and successful run.

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