San Carlos Tennis Club Donates to Samaritan House – 2nd Year Running!


On November 13, 2018, members of the San Carlos Tennis Club presented Samaritan House with a generous $7,000 donation. This is the second consecutive year that the San Carlos Tennis Club has lent its support to our programs which serve over 14,000 low-income clients in San Mateo County.

“The San Carlos Tennis Club is pleased to support SamHouse for a second year. We thank Samaritan House for its many programs that benefit those in need.”- Susan Gibson, SCTC President

The check presentation took place at San Carlos City Hall chambers with Mayor Bob Grassilli, Samaritan House CEO Bart Charlow, SCTC President Susan Gibson and SCTC Board Member Tami Adachi.

The San Carlos Tennis Club was organized in 1975 to promote tennis activities in the area. The Club operates in cooperation with the San Carlos School District, headquartering and organizing most SCTC events at the Arundel School tennis courts.  The San Carlos Tennis Club was honored with the USTA Northern California Club of the Year in 2013.

For more information on the Club, please visit  Thank you, San Carlos Tennis Club!



A Tribute to Dr. Jack Prost

Dr. Jack Prost

We have the sad task of announcing that Dr. Jack Prost has recently passed away. Dr. Prost had a welcoming smile for patients and volunteers alike at the Samaritan House Dental Clinic, which he helped found in March of 1996.  Together with Dr. Bert Kotin, Dr. Prost also led and guided the operations of the San Mateo Dental Clinic, which provides emergency and urgent dental services to people in San Mateo who need  help and have nowhere else to turn.

Dr. Prost was born in New Jersey, graduated from Indiana University in 1951, practiced Dentistry in New York, and then moved to San Mateo in 1961 where he served as a member of the County’s Dental Society for 53 years.  He was Chairman of the Auxiliary Committee in 1971, member/Chairman of the Ethics Committee, and served for 2 years in the Emergency 24 Hour Dental Service Committee. In 2000, the Dental Society awarded him with a Distinguished Service Award.

Dr. Prost was recently recognized at Samaritan House’s Volunteer Appreciation Event as the “Volunteer of the Year 2015”.  “My dad,  Dr. Jack Prost,  was thrilled to be honored at your Volunteer Appreciation Event,” says Dr. Prost’s daughter, Jennifer Prost. He continued to volunteer for Samaritan House and Life Line up to a month before his passing.

In lieu of having a memorial, Dr. Prost’s family has requested donations be sent to Samaritan House’s Free Health Clinics, in honor of a service that Dr. Prost held dear to his heart.  Jack touched a lot of people with his gentleness, his smile and his wit.  He will be greatly missed.

To make a donation on behalf of Dr. Jack Prost, click the button below and specify “San Mateo Free Dental Clinic” in the designation category. 

Donate Now

For the full Samaritan House Dental History, CLICK HERE

Foster City Rotary Donation!



We are thrilled to announce the receipt of a $3,000 donation from the Foster City Rotary!

Stephanie Masten, Mary Lou Griffin, Mike Hoffman and Ed Grohe (pictured above), presented the check yesterday afternoon before taking a tour around the Pacific Boulevard headquarters.

“WOW!  I’m totally impressed with the tour!!  and from what I hear…there is more to see!!  It was so interesting for me to see and hear what all you do!!  Puts a lump in my throat,” says Masten. “You all seem so passionate in what you do! Our motto in Rotary is ‘Service before Self’  and I see that all around Samaritan House!”

Thank you so much, Foster City Rotary, for your wonderful generosity and all the ways you join in and help Samaritan House serve our community. 

Samaritan House Bike Giveaway!


Bike Givaway 2


Our parking lot is always a busy place, but on April 1, instead of cars wheeling in and out, laughing children wearing brand new bright green helmets were wheeling bicycles around orange safety cones.

Wednesday’s event was the first in our new Closet children’s program, Books, and Backpacks.  The bicycle safety clinic and used bike repair and giveaway was the result of a partnership with two wonderful local agencies, the Silicon Valley Bike Coalition and the Bay Area Bike Mobile.

Laughter bubbled up from the nine children as they tried on the cool green helmets and mounted their newly refurbished bikes. Parents looked on with broad smiles as the children demonstrated safe riding skills under the instruction of Ernesto Lizaola, education programs manager for the bike coalition.

Mother of triplets, Ana Carolina Mendoza was so excited that the girls had bicycles that fit – she promised to their too-small bikes to Samaritan House to be donated to the next group of children.

Earlier in the day, the team arrived and got to work changing tires, replacing brakes, getting 16 bicycles back in shape in record time. And the bike coalition brought two boxes of new helmets, making sure each child received a safe, well-fitting helmet and a larger-sized donated bike.

Starting out with a half-hour classroom presentation for parents and children in our third floor conference room, the group then trooped down to the parking lot for the hands-on part of the program.

“This is the first time they have ever been taught anything about bicycles,” Ana Carolina said. She said she was really pleased they were learning the basics of bike safety.

Samaritan House plans to hold similar events in the future and welcomes the donation of youth and adult bicycles in good condition or a donation of $10, which will provide a safe helmet for a child.

About the Silicon Valley Bike Coalition: “Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition () exists to promote increased cycling in Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties. To accomplish this goal, SVBC advocates for improved and expanded bicycle infrastructure and other facilities, including bike lanes, paths, racks, lockers, accommodating traffic signals, capacity on transit, and more. Additionally, SVBC promotes bicycle culture through events and activities such as Bike to Work Day, Bicycle Friendly Workplace, and Valet Bike Parking at a variety of area events.

About the BikeMobile: “The Bay Area BikeMobile  hosts bicycle repair clinics at schools, libraries, recreation centers, and community events across the San Francisco Bay Area. At these events, we engage participants in a hands-on repair process so that they may be more confident making future repairs on their own. Additionally, we promote safe riding, teach beginners how to ride without training wheels, and give away refurbished bicycles. By partnering with Spare the Air Youth and  Safe Routes to Schools they are able to offer this as a free resource to the public, focusing on low-income communities that often do not have access to professional bike repair. The Bay Area BikeMobile helps keep youth rolling to school safely while reducing congestion and greenhouse gas emissions.”



Wheels are Rolling – Bikes for the Worker Resource Center


It can be a huge challenge to find a job without a mode of transportation. Luckily for many workers at Samaritan House’s Workers Resource Center (WRC), the wheels have started rolling!

The Congregational Church of San Mateo (CCSM) recently donated 11 refurbished bicycles, along with locks and helmets to the WRC.

CCSM finds old, run down bikes and works together to clean, align, lubricate and test –drive the bikes until they are restored to safe, operational level. They recruited the help of Talbots Cycles, who provided highly discounted bike parts and Silicon Valley Community Foundation, help pay for helmets and locks. The WRC will be raffling off the bikes to the workers.

To the workers, these bikes mean a reliable mode of transportation. Dependable transportation means a better chance in finding stable employment. A salary could mean stability for an entire family and with that stability, the family can thrive.

Please email  if you have a bicycle to donate.


It’s Not Too Late to Complete that Special 2014 New Year Resolution

The-Season-for-GivingThe stock market hit new highs this year, but even if you aren’t in them, this would be a great time to do something you have always said you would do: share a bit of your own good fortune with your less fortunate neighbors.

It’s never too late for a charitable contribution to the work of Samaritan House!

In fact, right up through December 31st you can make a stock or cash donation in any form that would qualify for tax deductions. We can use your help right now, because thousands of families NEED our help right now.  Donate today!

So spread a little of that holiday cheer and feel really great that you have fulfilled your 2014 resolution to be a great neighbor!

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.


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.






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!


Agency History – Spotlight on the Kids Closet


In honor of Samaritan House’s 40th Anniversary in 2014, we take a look back at the people who helped make our role as a leading social service agency in the county possible. A special thank you to Monica MacMillan, our new communications volunteer, for contributing the following blog post.


Since 1985, Samaritan House has distributed clothing to those in need as part of its goal to provide essential services to the members of San Mateo County. When Samaritan House moved to a new location in 2009, the clothing distribution center needed to condense itself into a much smaller space. After polling its clients and receiving feedback, Samaritan House determined that the primary need was children’s clothing. Two volunteers, Cathy Brown and Ally Nushy-Lenat, took charge of setting up the new distribution center, which was renamed the Kids Closet.

Kids Closet volunteers, Ally Nushy-Lenat & Cathy Brown

“At that time, it was just an empty room,” says Cathy. Together, Cathy and Ally sourced clothing racks, storage shelves, bins, and hangers, and set up new procedures for how to accept clothing donations. They also put the word out to church groups and other community organizations. Today, members of the community donate approximately 2,000 pieces of children’s clothing per year to the Kids Closet. Dozens of volunteers offer hundreds of hours of their time to collect, sort, and distribute the items to Samaritan House clients, with whom they are shared free-of-charge.

Through their case managers, clients receive monthly clothing vouchers that entitle each child to receive 5 tops, 2 pairs of pants, 1 dress or skirt, 1 jacket, 1 sweatshirt, 1 pair of pajamas, and 1 pair of shoes. Baby clothes and accessories are unlimited. But there is something else being offered at the Kids Closet that is harder to define, more intangible, than just clothing. Volunteers strive to offer a pleasant and positive shopping experience, and perhaps even a self-esteem boost. sign

“[We try to make the center feel] as much like a store as possible,” Cathy states. Volunteers greet the clients warmly as they come in, and let the clients know that they are there to help. If a client is looking for a particular item that is not out on the floor, volunteers will check the stock room. Those volunteers with retail experience are happy to offer advice about silhouettes or trends if asked. “We’re very conversational with people [as they shop] and complimentary about their selections,” says Cathy. Gaby Korn, one of the original Kids Closet volunteers, echoes these sentiments. “I try to make the clothes look as close to brand new as possible.” Volunteers are sensitive to the fact that “how one looks to one’s peers is very important” and they “don’t put anything out on the floor that is not in good condition,” Cathy says.

The physical space is airy and bright, with lots of natural light. Families often come together to the center to shop, and there is a children’s play area in one corner with toys, books, and beanbag chairs for the littlest shoppers. “One of the ways parents nurture their children is by taking care of their children’s clothing,” says Cathy, who has a background in early childhood education. The Kids Closet is happy to facilitate this very important bond between parent and child.

Donations of children’s clothing are always welcome (see our Wishlist for a list of our current needs). Contact us at (650) 341-4081 or email for more information.

Monica MacMillan, Samaritan House volunteer




Use your IRA to make a charitable gift to Samaritan House – ends Dec. 31, 2013

Your support helps Samaritan House continue to serve those most in need in San Mateo County – including through our annual holiday food & toy distributions.

If you are 70½ or older, you can make a charitable gift of up to $100,000 to Samaritan House from your Individual Retirement Account (“IRA”) to meet your 2013 annual minimum required distribution amount without having to include the transfer as income for federal income tax purposes. However, the law allowing this special charitable IRA rollover, or qualified charitable distribution (“QCD”) expires after December 31, 2013.

To complete your charitable gift, transfers must come from your IRA and be paid directly to Samaritan House. If you have retirement assets in a 401(k), 403(b) etc., you must first roll those funds into an IRA, and then you can direct the IRA plan administrator to transfer the funds from the IRA directly to Samaritan House. You cannot use the rollover to fund either life-income gifts (charitable gift annuities, charitable remainder trusts, or pooled income funds), or donor advised funds or supporting organizations.

If you have questions about completing an IRA charitable rollover to Samaritan House before its expiration on December 31, 2013, please contact Samaritan House’s Director of Development, Lynn Nawahine, at or 650-523-0825.


Holiday Donation Information

toy-webSome 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.

More of a cyber-shopper? Check out our Holiday Wishlist on Amazon and have your donations shipped directly:

With your help, we will be making the holiday a little brighter for over 2,000 of clients’ children!