Health Heroes: Keeping People Well

Laura BlackwellLaura Blackwell is a nurse practitioner at the Samaritan House Redwood City Free Clinic, and one of the many Health Heroes you will see if you come in to visit us there. She had originally worked as a hospital nurse, and changed paths out of a desire to work with patients long-term, in a more relaxed setting.

“Samaritan House gives me an opportunity to see patients, keep my skills, and I really enjoy it, so I continue to volunteer here over the years.”

One of the advantages of working with recurring patients is that it provides the opportunity to teach patients how to improve their diet, exercise regime, and self-care. She asks patients about the choices they make, and delights in witnessing improvements in diet, fitness, and weight loss. Medical providers usually have to have these conversations in the doctor’s office, in a removed setting away from delicious but unhealthy foods that may be tempting their patients. It’s one thing to say you will choose broccoli over cake, it’s another to remember that at a family gathering surrounded by your favorite foods. This isn’t the case at the Redwood City Free Clinic.

Laura had an opportunity to see these choices in action at a potluck thrown by the clinic. She noticed that following the year in which staff particularly stressed nutritional education, patients brought healthier foods, like vegetarian options and salads to the event. “You could see that people had incorporated this into their life, and you could see the example with things they brought in the following year.”

This type of prevention and education is necessary for long-term improvements in people’s health. In Laura’s words, “This is why the clinic is so crucial. By keeping people well instead of having them end up in an emergency room situation where they’re very, very sick, we can treat them before their illness reaches a point where they require emergency care and keep them healthy. I think it’s very important that people have this place to go.”

Thank You for Your #GivingTuesday Support


Today is ThankYouWednesday!

Samaritan House extends a HUGE THANK YOU to everyone who participated in GivingTuesday yesterday! We appreciate YOU, for freely dedicating your resources and time, and embodying the true meaning of the Holiday Season with a full heart – “giving”. YOU have made a tremendous impact, inspiring others to give not only on GivingTuesday, but throughout the entire year – for that, we can not thank you enough! 

If you weren’t able to participate yesterday, it’s not too late to take part! You can still give to Samaritan House in many different ways. To learn about ways you can contribute, visit:

However you choose to get involved, we can not express our gratitude, so thank you for supporting Samaritan House and your neighbors in need. Now, here’s the fun part – the results!


THE RESULTS ARE IN! Over 98 countries participated in this global day of giving with over $168 million raised. For more info about GivingTuesday, visit:,.


A Message from CEO, Bart Charlow


Dear friends,

Our clients are afraid and this election has made them even more so.

Believe me, it doesn’t matter whether you voted for or against rent control, housing or school bonds, one presidential candidate or another – or even voted at all! What matters is that you care for the people in our community who need us the most right now.

Mothers are afraid that they cannot feed their children dinner each night.  Fathers are afraid that, as they shuttle between 2 jobs to barely survive, they might be picked up and deported leaving their kids alone. Grandmothers are afraid of being on the street, because their long term apartment rent just skyrocketed, while their Social Security stayed flat again. Solo business owners are afraid that their health care will be cancelled, while they have serious ongoing illnesses to heal.

Those are their everyday fears, now made worse by the rhetoric, rancor and rumors generated during and following this election.

You are reading this because somewhere along the line you demonstrated that you care about our community, whether it has been as a donor, a supporter, a volunteer, a board or staff member.

Please continue to care about and for them. Please remember that, as you see them in person or in your mind, their fears have merit and they need our help to survive and thrive again. Please remember to treat their worries with kindness and understanding. That is why we are here at Samaritan House.

They come to us for help, and at least as importantly, they come to us for hope.

Remember that those working the food line with you, those to whom you hand clothes at Kids Closet, that worker you employ at the Worker Resource Center – and ALL the people around you doing the same thing – are our neighbors. We have to keep being good neighbors in order for our own lives to remain livable.

Bart Charlow, Chief Executive Officer BIO   EMAIL
Bart Charlow, Chief Executive Officer BIO EMAIL

I always say that Samaritan House is the “Great Heart of a Great Community.” Prove me right!

Your friend and neighbor,

Bart Charlow

Ruby Kaho Honored with a Jefferson Award


Our own “magic chef”, Ruby Kaho, is being honored with a Jefferson Foundation Award this month!


Ruby is being recognized for all the amazing work that she does, not just through Samaritan House, but also in our community. She is widely known by our volunteers, all over our food rescue operations with the grocery chains, by the many centers for kids and seniors who enjoy her cooking, as well as being loved and respected in her own Pacific Islander community.

This is personally very gratifying for her, as Ruby joins her and our good friend John Kelly, who was honored several years ago. Ruby and John are very close, see each other daily, and John was thrilled to have her recognized in this way.

KPIX television, as part of their sponsorship of the Jefferson Awards in the Bay Area, has created a video of Ruby at work for public viewing. Her interview will also be aired on KCBS Radio and on all CBS Radio stations in our region, including Alice, Live 105, and 997 Now. They will have a viewable version on their website as well.

For your enjoyment (and we do hope you will share this with all your friends) here is the schedule of air dates and times:

KPIX Channel 5:

  • Oct. 26 on the KPIX 5 News at 6 p.m.
  • Oct 27 on the KPIX 5 News at Noon
  • Sun . Oct. 30 on the KPIX 5 News at 7:30 a.m.

All News 106.9 FM & KCBS 740 AM

  • Oct. 26 at 6:50 p.m., 9:40 p.m., 11:50 p.m.
  • Oct. 30 at 11:50 a.m., 3:50 p.m.

CBS Radio stations – Alice 97.3 FM, Live 105.3 FM, 997 Now 99.7 FM

  • Oct. 30 at 6 a.m.


My New Red Shoes


It’s October, which means that all of the kiddos have gone back to school in the Bay Area. A new school year usually means new clothes and shoes, but for many of our neighbors, this can be a challenge financially. In fact, a lack of adequate shoes and clothing is the biggest barrier to school attendance, performance and engagement. Samaritan House is grateful to partner with My New Red Shoes on their Clothing for Confidence Program to help low-income children in our community feel good on their first day of school.

Thanks to this program, Samaritan House’s littlest clients received a new pair of shoes and a $50 gift card to a major clothing store. This year, we were able to give out more than 150 pairs of shoes and gift cards to help our children start the school year off right.  Thank you My New Red Shoes!

Vernon’s Story

Vernon is a hardworking, responsible man, who works as a ramp attendant at San Francisco International Airport (SFO) and lived in a room he rented at the Christie Hotel in South San Francisco. His world fell apart when the building he lived in went up in flames during an electrical fire. Everything he owned was destroyed by the fire. With no place to go and nothing but the clothes on his back, Vernon was thankful to be alive, but he knew he needed help.

Homelessness was a new concept for Vernon. He had always had a steady job and income, but the financial losses from the fire quickly rendered him without any savings. In partnership with local agencies, Samaritan House was able to place Vernon and other victims displaced by the fire at Safe Harbor Shelter.

Vernon lived at Safe Harbor for six  months while he continued to work and save money to find a new home and to provide financial support for his son who lives with his mother in New York.  Vernon says that of all the things he’s proud of in his life, his son is first among them.

Last month, Vernon’s case manager recommended him for a three year housing subsidy through the San Mateo County Housing Authority. The subsidy was quickly awarded and, with the help of his case manager, he was able to find an apartment he could afford.

He received financial support from Samaritan House for his move-in costs, and he recently received the keys to his new home. On Labor Day weekend, Vernon was filled with pride when his son flew out to visit him and stay with him in his new apartment.  They cooked together, visited the sights of the city and had wonderful time. With a renewed sense of optimism, Vernon is confident that, his future is going to be a bright one!

The League of New Samaritans – Flix Alfresco Event

befunky-collageLast Friday night, in the sleepy little town of San Mateo, on a street like any other, the League of New Samaritans gathered at a secret… cinema! The Leaguers were in for a night of movie magic under the stars and the cinema was well equipped with wine, beer, and hors d’ oeuvres! Laughter escaped out onto the street as The League ate, drank, networked and watched a warm, uplifting film about overcoming adversity.  All proceeds from this event benefit Samaritan House’s Safe Harbor Shelter, which provides more than 32,000 nights of safe, warm sleep for San Mateo County’s homeless each year.

Are you a 21 to 40-something who wants to help your neighbors living in poverty?  If so, join The League of New Samaritans, Samaritan House’s new young professionals group! The League is a group of young people, brought together by a common commitment: to support Samaritan House and all the incredible services and resources they provide to those in need in our community.

All are welcome at The League’s quarterly social events, ranging from happy hours, to picnics, to outdoor movies. Each event provides a great opportunity to learn more about how you can help someone who is hungry, homeless, or without healthcare, while networking, meeting new young professionals in the area, and enjoying an evening out. But, only members are invited to a yearly heroes-only soiree and have access to perks and discounts associated with membership. JOIN NOW!


Membership Levels

Super Samaritan

  • $250/year ($155 is tax-deductible)
  • All Captain Community benefits
  • Free admittance to quarterly open League events

Altruistic All-star

  • $100/year ($65 is tax-deductible)
  • All Captain Community benefits
  • 25% discount to quarterly open League events

Captain Community

  • $50/year ($35 is tax-deductible)
  • Invitation to quarterly open League events
  • Invitation to League-only event
  • Swag
  • Membership card



Contact Lisa Wheeler at 650-523-0809 or for more information.


Follow The League of New Samaritans on Instagram and don’t miss a second of the fun:

Have you ever heard of a Food Pharmacy?

In an innovative collaboration with our partners at Second Harvest food bank, Samaritan House has opened Food Pharmacies at our two Free Healthcare Clinics. Our volunteer physicians write “prescriptions” for low-income patients who 1have diabetes. Then, the patients are able to fill those prescriptions right on-site at our Food Pharmacies. Deepest thanks to Second Harvest Food Bank for keeping both pharmacies stocked with fresh produce and other healthy foods. Our Food Pharmacies are thought to be the first of their kind in California.

Hear about it from the innovators themselves in this excellent interview, now airing on Pen Voice!

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<p><a href=”″>Pen Voice – 253 – Food Pharmacy</a> from <a href=””>Peninsula TV</a> on <a href=””>Vimeo</a>.</p>

Host Dani Gasparini talks with Bart Charlow, CEO of Samaritan House, and Kathy Jackson, CEO of Second Harvest Food Bank, about their partnership to form a Food Pharmacy.

Medical & Dental Clinics Hours and Operation

Free Clinic of San Mateo
19 W. 39th Ave., San Mateo, CA 94403 Map
Tel: 650-578-0400
Hours by appointment only/initial referral from a Case Manager: Contact at 650-347-3648.
Mon. – Fri. 9 a.m.- 12 p.m. and 1 p.m.- 4 p.m.
Mon evening 6:30 – 9 p.m.
Third Wednesday evening of the month, 7 – 9 p.m.

Free Clinic of Redwood City
114 Fifth Ave., Redwood City, CA 94063 Map
Tel: 650-839-1447
Hours by appointment only/initial prequalification by the Redwood City Medical Clinic Coordinator: Contact at 650-341-4081 ext. 4005.
Mon. – Fri. 9 a.m.- 12:30 p.m. and 1:30 – 5 p.m.
One Wednesday evening per month, 5 – 8:30 p.m.

Urgent Need for Backpacks and School Supplies

The number of children signed up for our backpack giveaway has increased and we are urgently seeing Back-to-School backpacks, school supplies, and school shoes! Donate backpacks, school supplies and/or school shoes for 900 local children living in poverty. Giving the gift of a backpack or a pair of shoes may seem like such a simple thing to do, but it can mean the world to a child whose parents may not even be able to pay the rent or pay a utility bill. Your gift will enable a child to walk into a classroom with confidence, the tools they need to be successful in a learning environment and a feeling of belonging with their classmates.

5 Ways You Can Help:

  • Run your own donation drive. We will provide you with a tool kit to help make the drive easy and fun. Start by CLICKING HERE and filling out a drive form.
  • $50 pays for two backpacks filled with supplies. Donate now –>
  • Click here to purchase through the designated 2016 Back-to-School Backpack Drive Wish List on Amazon and have your donation shipped directly to the organization.
  • Donate $15 Payless shoe gift cards
  • Donate backpacks and school supplies11694836_10155939767660195_6683398321018301268_n

Where to bring items?

Donations can be dropped off at to Samaritan House at 4031 Pacific Blvd., San Mateo, CA  94403 3rd floor by Friday, July 29.


For more information, please the “How You Can Help” page on our website: or contact: Carol Laughlin, Director of Volunteers, or Rosie Coleridge, Volunteer Coordinator,

The League of New Samaritans Presents: Summer School at the Office!

Exciting News!

Samaritan House is starting a fun, new initiative for 21 – 40’somethings young professionals called, The League of New Samaritans! Our mission is to activate the next generation by fostering foster social altruism, providing a high-impact network and engaging social opportunities for members as well as support and hope for our San Mateo County neighbors in need.

We would LOVE you to join us at our first official event tomorrow!

Come relive your youthful glory days and indulge your inner child while networking with local young professionals and helping San Mateo County kids in need! Bringing friends/colleagues is encouraged!


  • Tickets: $20 – includes food and one drink ticket
  • Earn extra credit if you bring backpacks, school supplies and/or $15 Payless gift cards – you’ll be entered for a chance to win a $50 gift certificate to The Office
  • All donations benefit Samaritan House’s Back-to- School program and help kids in need.

LOCATION: The Office, 1748 El Camino Real, San Carlos, CA 94070

DATE: Wednesday, June 22nd, 6-8 pm


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