Family Harvest – April 2016 (Revised)

Let’s face it, the food we eat affects us in almost every aspect of our lives. For children, a healthy diet is even more important. Their food correlates not only to their health, but to their development and learning, overall happiness and ability to thrive.

For that reason, on the 3rd Friday of each month, Samaritan House hands out fresh food at Family Harvest food distributions in front of Shoreview Methodist Church. “April’s Harvest was wonderful. Nearly 80 families walked away with 120lbs. of food,” says Robyn Fischer, Client Services Manager. “There are so many parents who tell me this food has changed their family’s lives. They’re seeing their children become not only healthier, but happier people too.”

Samaritan House is thrilled to partner with Second Harvest Food Bank to make these types of wonderful programs available to low-income residents. In San Mateo County alone, more than 29,213 children live in food insecure households, according to a study by the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health. These children lack reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.

Family Harvests are dedicated to families with small children and adult children under the age of 26 who are still living at home. New families are welcome to register. Please call Samaritan House’s Client Services Office at (650) 347-3648 for more information.

*Correction: An earlier version of this story had misinformation about the details of Family Harvest and Produce Mobile distributions. This has been corrected.

Help Us Send Children Back to School with the Tools to Succeed!

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We are collecting donations for our annual back-to-school backpack drive from now through July 23rd. Backpacks full of schools supplies will be given out at our Backpack Giveaway on July 24th!

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School Supplies Needed:

• Backpacks
• Pens (blue or black ink only)
• Highlighters
• Notebooks (wide ruled & college rules)
• Loose Leaf Paper (wide ruled & college rules)
• 3 Ring Binders (2 inch)
• Pocket Folders
• Colored Pencils (Multi-color 12pk)
• Pink Erasers
• Markers (Multi-color Washable 8pk)
• Glue (Elmers White Glue or Glue Sticks)
• Child Scissors
• Ruler
• Portable Pencil Sharpener
• Calculator
• Crayons (Crayola 8 pk)
• Pencil Case

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Donations will gratefully be accepted at our main office, 3rd floor M-F from 9 – 5pm. Donation receipts are available.

We thank you in advance for your support!

2014 Holiday Program Highlights

With the help of our generous volunteers & donors we were able to create a brighter holiday for the 1,750 children who received new toys, coats and books, and over 1,200 households that received food.

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Food Distributions: Our special food distributions during November & December provided groceries – such as fresh fruits & veggies, canned goods, hams and turkeys to over 1,200 families.

 

 

 

 

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Toy Shoppe:  1,750 very happy children and their parents picked out three to five toys for each child, a book and a coat. Toys included things like Legos, dolls, games, educational toys, gift cards and sporting equipment. Extra special thanks for the donated books from Barnes and Noble! Books also were donated from school groups, service clubs, and individual donors from around the community.

 

 

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Family Sharing Program: 110 families more than 30 seniors were supported this year through our Family Sharing Program (FSP). FSP allows donors to give in a more personal way by selecting a specific family to sponsor. Donors included individuals, families, church and civic groups, businesses and schools.

 

 

 

12-8-2014 Wee Care CraftingWee Care Program: Over twenty  elementary and middle schools participated in our Wee Care Program. Parents, teachers and volunteers teach students about the needs of the community. They create cheerful decorations and organize food, clothing and toys drives that are eventually distributed to the Samaritan House clients.

 

 

 

 

All of this was made possible with the caring and sharing of so many donors in our community and the 1,000 volunteers who came together to hand out toys, food, and help clients pick warm coats. Thank you to all those who support our holiday program every year!

 

A-Lot to be Thankful For

As part of our Holiday Program, this year Samaritan House celebrated Thanksgiving at the King Center with a delicious, traditional holiday meal and a cheerful place for people to go.  Staff and a plethora of volunteers spent the day serving dinners to over 300 members of the San Mateo community and handing out an additional 100 takeout meals.  Even more, Samaritan House served Thanksgiving dinner for 40 at St. Matthew’s Hotel, a subsidized hotel for low income and disabled folks.

Volunteers spent the morning decorating tables with seasonal flowers donated by local markets and they festooned the walls with posters and paper turkeys made by school children. Then, people sat down to a hot meal of turkey, ham, potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, stuffing, rolls and pie.

Samaritan House’s Dining Room Manager,  Mario Cousenses spoke with one family of five at the Thanksgiving dinner who had just arrived from Mexico about a month ago. “They don’t have a steady home or steady jobs yet but they found out about the free Thanksgiving Dinner through the Worker Resource Center (WRC). They were very grateful to have a happy place to go,” says Cousenses. The WRC is another Samaritan House program that offers a safe location for temporary laborers and employers to meet for work.

After the community dinner wrapped, Ruby Kaho-the Kitchen Manager at Samaritan House, personally delivered meals to her church and to the homes of people who couldn’t make it out to the event. The bustling Samaritan House Kitchen provides over 145,000 meals every year and they feed well over 3,000 hungry people every month, many of whom are children. Our kitchen, pantry and dining services fill the gap between the need for nutrition and the ability people need to thrive and move forward.

Kids Love Halloween at Samaritan House!

HAPPY HALLOWEEN!

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Halloween has arrived at the Samaritan House Kids Closet! Volunteers and children alike are equally excited. We have been distributing costumes throughout October to make sure every child gets a fun-filled Halloween. By the time trick-or-treating starts, over 275 children will have received a costume to celebrate this spooky holiday.

A special thank you to the Young Men’s Service League for donating over 40 new Halloween costumes and to an Anonymous donor for another 50 costumes! We truly appreciate the support of our community to make this holiday special for so many deserving children!

Safe Harbor Shelter Increases Clients’ Access to Programming

A special thank you to communications volunteer Monica MacMillan for contributing the following blog post.

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Since 1987, Samaritan House has been providing beds to the homeless as part of its efforts to meet the immediate and basic needs of low-income individuals in San Mateo County.  In 2000, Samaritan House opened Safe Harbor Shelter, a ninety-bed shelter located in South San Francisco.  In addition to providing the homeless with emergency shelter, safety, warmth, and sustenance, Safe Harbor offers healthcare assistance, substance abuse counseling, and job search assistance.  Historically, Safe Harbor has offered its clients referrals to outside agencies for these supplementary services.  Increasingly, however, it is trying to bring programs in-house.

“We want to support our clients as much as possible” by improving their access to programming, says Julia Parmer, the Mental Health Case Manager at Safe Harbor.  Because many clients don’t own their own transportation, it can be difficult for them to travel to outside agencies to get the help they need.  Moreover, “there is a lot of downtime [at the shelter].”  Programs offered on-site give clients a productive way to spend their time if they are not working.  Parmer has been offering group stress management counseling, and art therapy is coming soon.  Alcoholics Anonymous and Bible study groups meet weekly.  A new learning center with computers is also planned for the near future.

Course Hero, a local start-up company that allows college students to share their academic resources with each other, recently came to Safe Harbor to offer a free resume-building workshop.  Knowledgeable volunteers offered tips on how to market yourself, how to write a personalized cover letter, and what to do and not to do in an interview.  For clients who brought their existing resumes and cover letters, volunteers offered one-on-one editing sessions.  Course Hero plans to return periodically to provide its expertise to Safe Harbor clients.  “I’m happy that we’re in a position to help,” says John Stacey, co-founder and VP of Campus Programs.

For more information about Safe Harbor Shelter, please contact  650-873-4921.

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In honor of financial literacy month

jar2A special thank you to communications volunteer Monica MacMillan for contributing the following blog post.

As financial literacy month draws to a close, we highlight why Samaritan House’s newest program, the Financial Empowerment Program, is so important to low-income residents in our county.

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1 in 3 adults in America carry credit card debt from month-to-month, according to the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. A staggering 61% of adults admit to not having a budget. In other words, many people – even those in the middle and upper classes – have work to do when it comes to establishing healthy financial habits.

For those with lower incomes, however, having a solid foundation on which to base their daily spending decisions can mean the difference between self-sufficiency and crisis. “Commonly, compared with middle class and higher income Americans, low-income persons save much lower portions of their incomes and accumulate fewer assets.” (1) That means that people with lower incomes must think more strategically about ways to save more than those with a larger monthly surplus.

Housing prices in the Bay Area make saving even more challenging than in other parts of the country. According to San Mateo County’s most recent survey, “more than 50 percent of owners with mortgages . . . and 47 percent of renters in [the county] spent 30 percent or more of [their] household income on housing” (emphasis added). For the approximately 46,000 people in San Mateo County who live in poverty (2), trying to pay the mortgage or rent and save strategically each month is no easy task.

Samaritan House created the financial empowerment program in order to give its clients the financial tools necessary to achieve economic stability and self-sufficiency, and to stay out of crisis. Services include educational classes and one-on-one counseling about topics such as budgeting, banking, credit, identity theft, and predatory lending. Certified Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) volunteers also provide free tax preparation to households of limited means. Perhaps the most inventive aspect of the program is the Start2Save plan, where clients can save up to $500 of their own money and earn $1,000 in matched savings that they are encouraged to use as an emergency fund. To qualify, clients must attend ten hours of financial education classes and save at least $20 per month.

According to Harvard economics professor Sendhil Mullainathan, when people have difficulty saving for the future, it is not simply because they lack self-control. Rather, it is because they don’t have the proper savings tools in place. The Financial Empowerment Program gives the clients of Samaritan House the tools, techniques, and confidence they need to build a more secure future.

For more information about Samaritan House’s Financial Empowerment Program, contact us.

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1 National Coalition for Domestic Violence.

2 San Mateo County Nutrition and Food Insecurity Profile, 2010.

Helping our clients build ‘Secure Futures’

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Samaritan House’s new financial workshop classes, Secure Futures, are helping equip our clients with the financial skills they need to build assets and plan for the future.

Secure Futures Instructor, Carlina Davila is very pleased with the results she is seeing from her students. “It is really the small changes in spending habits and attitudes towards money that are having such large behavioral changes.” One of Carlina’s clients has started a new savings account and had managed to put away $90 over the course of a month just by cutting back the number of Starbucks each week. “Once our participants lay out their monthly expenses to create budgets, they’re really able to look at areas that they can cut back.”

To learn more about this program, view our program flyer (English) (Spanish) or contact us for more information.

Holiday Program Highlights – 2013

2013 Holiday Highlights

With the help of our volunteers & donors, we were able to help over 1035 families have a brighter holiday season!

Some highlights to come out of the holiday program this past year:

FoodFood Distribution: special food distributions during November & December provided groceries – like fresh fruits & veggies, canned goods, hams and turkeys- to 3,894 individuals

 

 

 

 

 

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Toy Shoppe: 1,422 children picked out stuffed animals, games, educational toy, and books that were donated from groups, service clubs, and individual donors from around the community

 

 

 

 

 

FamilyFamily Sharing Program: 110 family sharing program donors – including individuals, families, church and civic groups, businesses, Scout  and after school programs – provided food and gifts for 193 families and seniors

 

 

 

 

All of this was made possible with the caring and sharing of so many donors in our community and the 1,179 volunteers who came together to hand out toys, food, and help clients pick warm coats. Thank you to all those who support our holiday program every year!

In Honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month…

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“I am very thankful for the Breast Clinic. I have learned the appropriate way to examine myself…Thank you very much for all your help provided to us as women.” Samaritan House Breast Clinic patient

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month – According to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, approximately 1 in 8 women (12%) will be affected by breast cancer in her lifetime.

The Samaritan House Breast Care Clinic was started in 1999 by a group of female physician volunteers at the Free Clinic of San Mateo who were concerned that low-income women, without access to healthcare, were not aware of the importance of routine breast screenings. Our Breast Care Clinic exists today to provide breast cancer prevention, education, and screening services for low-income women in San Mateo County.

The Breast Care Clinic reduces barriers to providing uninsured women with access to high-quality and timely breast health care services. Many clients in our target population are unaware of the risks they face and the importance of regular self-examination, clinical breast exams, and early detection. This program is particularly important in getting clients to change their attitudes, beliefs, and behaviors about regularly performing a breast self-exam and screening mammograms.

Dr. Lynn B. Rosenstock, a volunteer physician at Samaritan House’s San Mateo Clinic, spoke recently about the breast care clinic and the importance of education about breast cancer.

Show your support for our Breast Care Clinic – Your donation helps provide education and screenings for women in need. Make your secure online donation today.