Some information for those interested in donating food or toys this month:
Beginning the week of December 9th, our donation center located in the parking lot of our main office will be open from 9am-6pm on Mon/Tues/Fri & 9am-8pm on Wed & Thur. A donation attendant will be available to accept donation items and issue a receipt.
In addition, we are in urgent need of toy to help us start out the holiday season. We are still in need of new, unwrapped toys for children from 0-13 years old along with gift cards for teens.
To kick off San Mateo High School’s annual holiday food drive to benefit Samaritan House and Second Harvest Food Bank (taking place from 11/15-12/2 this year), students from SMHS and Burlingame High will be holding a kick-off event this Saturday, Nov. 23rd. Join us at Hillsdale Shopping Center – Nordstrom Court from 1:00-3:00 pm for a performance from the schools’ choir students to help get you in a festive shopping mood!
(Students won’t be collecting food at the Hillsdale event but Samaritan House donation barrels will be available at customer service to collect toiletries for Safe Harbor and Warm Coats)
We appreciate San Mateo High’s continued support through their annual food drive. For more information about how you can donate to the students’ drive and ways you can help, see the school’s website for the drive: http://www.smhscfd.com/.
We couldn’t have accomplished so much this year without supporters like you! As we begin to plan our holiday distributions for families in need, we’ve joined the #GivingTuesday movement, an annual campaign created to promote a national day of giving at the start of the holiday season to celebrate organizations like Samaritan House that make our community a better place.
From food to shelter to financial empowerment and more, Samaritan House invites you to help support the work we do.
Remember us on Giving Tuesday and visit our donation page to make your contribution.
Samaritan House’s Capital Campaign for a New Home – an initiative launched in 2006 to raise money for a permanent headquarters from which to anchor our county-wide operations – closed this month. We celebrated and commemorated this milestone by unveiling a donor wall which recognizes those individuals who contributed $1,000 or more to the campaign at an event on Oct. 23rd.
At the event, attendees were invited to share memories of our previous locations and celebrate what a difference our new space has made to our clients, staff, and to the community. A video was made to show the change from our two previous locations, to our office space here on Pacific Boulevard.
Thank you to all those who attended and to staff for organizing the event!
Samaritan House is committed to providing programs and services at Safe Harbor to meet the critical needs of those most at-risk in our community. As the 2013 San Mateo County Homeless Census and Survey illustrates, the problem of homelessness in our area continues to grow even as the local economy recovers.
Since 2011, the number of individuals living without shelter has risen 12%, according to a report released by the county’s human services agency. (view the report here) The January census counted 1,298 people living on county streets, inside vehicles or in makeshift encampments. That’s 136 more people than the 1,162 tallied just two years ago.
It is this need for emergency shelter and transitional support that make the need for our Safe Harbor Shelter so profound.
Samaritan House is truly an organization of Neighbor Helping Neighbor, and we could not operate without our community’s support. We appreciate the partnerships and relationships we share with the many faith-based organizations, professional associations, schools, clubs, government, and community organizations who generously provide donations and volunteer in our shelter throughout the year.
A number of organizations and businesses have donated their time, talents, and resources to our shelter in the past year:
• The County of San Mateo’s Behavioral Health and Recovery Services continues to provide weekly intake assessments and ongoing case management services for Safe Harbor clients.
• Safe Harbor clients receive free, weekly, on- site dental services from the Mobile Dental Clinic run by the San Mateo Medical Center.
• The Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County conducts once-a-month sessions educating clients about various public health and assistance programs.
• Around the holidays this past year, several local organizations – including First Presbyterian Church, Millbrae Bible Church, Lion’s Club, the South City Fire Department, and United Airlines – held special events and conducted drives to benefit the shelter.
Are you or your community service group interested in volunteering or organizing a donation drive for our shelter? Please contact us to see how we can assist. With your help, we can continue to provide a safe and supportive environment where our shelter residents can focus on building brighter futures.
A great picture of one of our financial empowerment clients taken last week after she opened her first credit union account!
Samaritan House is now offering one-on-one financial coaching classes to help our clients learn about ways to minimize debt, build savings, & improve credit scores. We will provide opportunities for clients (and low income staff) to obtain pro-bono, one-on-one financial coaching through Sage Financial Solutions & our in- house Financial Empowerment Coach.
Our goal is to help navigate our Samaritan House clients:
Feel self-empowerment & self-directed
Live poverty-free and equip them with financial knowledge and tools
Create long-term, financially responsible habits – coaching will create this foundation to coach the person not the issue
Empower client to build personal and financial goals while holding them accountable
This is just one of the ways Samaritan House is working to help families build their level of self-sufficiency & build brighter futures!
Help send local children back to school this fall with the tools they need to succeed!
School’s finally out for the summer, and while most of us are busy planning vacations, Samaritan House’s client service department is busy planning our annual back-to-school backpack drive.
Each year we hold our annual Backpack Drive, engaging the community for support in providing backpacks and school supplies for underprivileged youth who might not have the resources to obtain all the necessities for academic success. Our goal is to collect 200 new backpacks along with school supplies from now until July 31st.
NEW this year: shop for and fill your backpack donation online! Visit the Back-to-School page of our Amazon Wishlist and have your donation shipped directly to us.
Samaritan House Backpack Drive: School Supply List
• Pens (blue or black ink only)
• 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
• Portable Pencil Sharpener
• Crayons (Crayola 8 pk)
• Pencil Case
We will distribute backpacks and supplies to families in need beginning in August. Donations will gratefully be accepted at our main office, 3rd floor M-F from 9 – 5pm. We thank you in advance for your support!
Learning that a $100 donation allows us to provide nutritious meals for 35 children, Rory (age 10) & Tessa (age 7) decided to hold a garage sale to raise money to benefit Samaritan House. The kids succeeded in reaching their $100 goal, and came by our office earlier this month to drop off their very thoughtful and generous donation. (Pictured with volunteer manager Melissa Moss)
We thank these very young Samaritans for this wonderful project and celebrate their community-minded spirit!
Another example of students giving generously to Samaritan House: Students of Franklin Elementary in Burlingame recently donated an amazing 1,917 pairs of socks for Kids’ Closet, our free clothing center for children.
According to the students, highlights of their sock drive included a “Sock Hop” dance – where the price of admission was a pair of socks – and a “Sock-o-Meter” to help them measure progress towards their donation goal.
The kids also artfully decorated the collection boxes to look like little washing machines to keep with the theme.
If you are a school or organization looking to conduct a donation drive or fundraiser for Samaritan House, contact Volunteer Manager Melissa Moss for details: firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are excited to present this guest blog post by Samaritan House Grants Manager Amy Hsieh. Amy visited with a resident of Safe Harbor to talk about his experiences with homelessness and his road towards stability.
Martin is chronically homeless, having lived in and out of Safe Harbor shelter since the late 90’s when it was still located in the National Guard Armory in San Mateo.
Born in Los Angeles, Martin spent his childhood in San Francisco in a family that provided little supervision. Martin says, “I lived a different life. I was drug-oriented. I partied all the time when I was a teenager. It became a lifestyle. Then it becomes your life.”
He found jobs, worked for many years in South City in the freight and shipping business, but was always sidetracked by drugs. For a while, he worked for at an international freight company, where he used his travel benefits to fly to exotic locations. Inevitably, he would spend all of his money, and then be back for another stay at Safe Harbor.
“I was using and not functional. Breaking that cycle was hard,” he says.
On his first stay at Safe Harbor, he remembers feeling uncomfortable, not knowing anyone. “It was like being out on the street, but in an enclosed space, like being squeezed into a box,” Martin explains. Once he started getting to know people at the shelter, he started to feel more comfortable.
“Many people don’t realize that the shelter is a community of people who are all in the same boat. You’re not forced to be here. It’s a choice. If you want, you can make it work for you,” says Martin.
It has taken time, but over his last three stays at Safe Harbor, Martin made a conscious choice to live a different lifestyle. He is now drug free, but the road has not been easy…
(Story continued next week. Check back to read more about Martin’s journey.)