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A Community In Service With The Most Vulnerable Among Us

Press Release


March 14, 2023 -- Third Avenue Charitable Organization (TACO) is the recipient of the prestigious Jim Dawe Humanitarian Award presented at the Downtown San Diego Partnership’s Create The Future Awards. Past recipients include Father Joe’s Villages, San Diego Housing Commission, The Homeless Outreach Team (HOT) and Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer. The award is presented in recognition of TACO’s commitment to caring for our unhoused neighbors through a host of initiatives, including providing meals, social services, showers, medical, dental and legal clinics, access to a rotational shelter and more. Their work serves hundreds of unhoused neighbors each week, collaborating with partners like Feeding San Diego, The Lucky Duck Foundation, and The San Diego Food Bank, to help live up to the mission of providing care in a non-judgmental space for unhoused San Diegans.


Accepting the award is our Executive Director, Susan Fleming, a long-time champion of the unhoused in our community and who’s experience has taken her from working at New Day Urban Ministries, where she also collaborated with Interfaith Shelter Network, Father Joe’s Villages, and the San Diego Workforce Partnership to her current role leading our organization. Through her leadership over the past two and a half years, TACO has joined forces with Think Dignity - Fresh Start Showers and Dreams for Change “Dreams’ Cuisine Food Trucks.” Through a collaboration with Interfaith Shelter Network, we are now able to offer shelter and case management services to 12 situationally homeless individuals, while the winter rotational shelter is in operation. TACO also prides itself on employing those with lived experiences. But we are always looking to do more.


The San Diegans TACO serves are largely low-income, retired and living on low fixed incomes, disabled and receiving modest government benefits, and either have no permanent housing or are living completely on the streets. Through the collaborative work of partners, volunteers, and donors, TACO is able to provide crucial living necessities five days a week to those struggling to survive.


If you are interested in getting involved in our work through partnering, volunteering, or donating, please contact or visit our website



Deacon Margy Schmitt Ajer

Board President, Third Avenue Charitable Organization


From food preparation to serving a meal, our volunteers are the backbone of our organization.


Food, cars, new athletic socks, underwear and hygiene kits.  There are so many ways

to give.


Be a part of a team to assist the vulnerable to acquire services.

Together We Can

"Third Avenue Charitable Organization (TACO) is a community drawn together to support the dignity, health and well-being of people among us experiencing homelessness and poverty."  - TACO's Mission Statement

TACO serves everyone, regardless of race, gender, faith, age, or sexual orientation. A large number of those served are without permanent homes or are living on the streets. Many others are of retirement age, living in the surrounding senior citizen residential towers on low fixed incomes. Still others are physically disabled living on relatively little income from sources such as state disability and Federal SSI.


During the course of an average week, the majority of TACO's clients are men, many of whom are homeless. Single women also take advantage of the services offered by TACO. Occasionally, homeless families who for a variety of reasons are living on the streets of San Diego receive assistance from TACO.


Social Services

To help in the area of the psycho-social needs of our guests, TACO staff partners with social work interns to provide counseling and other social services.

Going Home

Provide end of life services for the dying individual, their family, and their community in a manner which creates a place for healing of mind, body, and spirit.


Cita con el dentista


Four weekly meals are made possible by partnerships with businesses, churches, friends and neighbors – much goes into providing meals for San Diego’s most vulnerable residents.


To meet some of the needs of our guests, a community of practitioners partner with TACO to provide much needed medical, pharmacy, dental, acupuncture and law clinics.​

Comforting Hands


TACO is always grateful for in-kind and financial gifts, which help meet the continuing costs of providing meals and services to those in need. As an IRS designated 501(c) 3 non-profit charitable organization, monetary contributions to TACO are tax-deductible to the extent permissible.

To see a list of suggestions for in-kind gifts or to make a donation online click here.


TACO is indebted to volunteers from thirty-five local churches and many other organizations, who help prepare the Monday and Friday meals, raise funds at their own churches and within their own communities, drive, shop, pick up food, gather supplies, and help in many other creative ways. For more information about volunteering, click here. 

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