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Guest opinion by Jessica DiCostanzo
We would like to introduce you to a local super mom, Lindah Miles. This lifelong equestrian has six kids—twin boys, a single boy, and triplet daughters! Taking care of her family has always been a joy in Lindah’s life.
About 17 years ago, Miles was headed to the local grocery store in Costa Mesa and noticed a little line of people on the side of the store. Her curiosity convinced her to investigate further. She found out they were homeless and could only afford rice and coffee. Worried about their welfare, Miles asked the homeless crowd if she could get them something a bit more substantial. They gratefully agreed.
The incident sparked a desire to do more to help people in need, and as a result, she founded The Lighthouse Outreach.
“We want to help as many people as we can, because it’s not always obvious who is hungry. People can have a roof over their heads but not enough to put food on the table. Also, from having a large family, I can understand how there might not be enough food at the end of the month. A lot of people struggle silently—especially since COVID hit,” she said.
Miles’ goal is to make food available to anyone in need. She has always been able to look to her equestrian family at Ivy Gate Farm in San Juan Capistrano. Her barn family would often volunteer to donate food, help make meals, and serve the food.
Miles also runs a men’s program that focuses on getting 16 men at any given time cleaned up and off the streets. The Lighthouse Outreach can feed, clothe, and provide faith-based programs lasting 9-12 months to help set them up for success—achieving goals such as employment, sobriety, and driving. The organization runs on donations, especially items such as food and clothes.
“It’s funny, because you will see lots of homeless people in Costa Mesa wearing old riding jackets and other horse clothes,” she said.
That’s due to Miles’ supportive barn family that donates anything they can!
What started off as a couple of equestrians has grown to hundreds of people and companies working together each week to feed those who do not have enough. Local businesses and programs such as Panera Bread, Whole Foods, Sprouts, and Farmers to Families donate more than 2,600 pounds of food each week, which are subsequently delivered to 59 communities.
“It’s a win-win. We can help people on both sides by serving the community. It’s just the best,” Miles passionately explains.
Giving back is also a great way for families to show their kids how to serve others. Volunteers from all different ages and groups such as the Boy Scouts, high school students, and the elderly have all volunteered to help. The Lighthouse Outreach has zero paid employees—100% of the proceeds go directly to those in need. Miles is always looking for volunteers, so if you’re interested, please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org to get involved.
Jessica DiCostanzo is a San Juan Capistrano Equestrian Coalition Board Member, lifelong equestrian, and co-founder of equivont.com.