We have had a successful backpack and school supply drive — resulting in more than 400 fun, fashionable #backpacks, along with #school supplies! A huge thank you to everyone who helped to collect so many supplies!
We still need new #children’s shoes or $15.00 Payless Shoes gift cards. Donations will be gratefully collected from now through July 23rd for our annual Back-to-School Giveaway on July 24th. Please drop off donations at our main office, 3rd floor M-F from 9 – 5 pm. Donation receipts are available.
Together we can help all children start the school year on equal footing with new shoes, clothes and a sense of confidence!
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.
“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.
“[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 Wishlistfor a list of our current needs). Contact us at (650) 341-4081 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Since 1987, the Food Runners helped deliver excess perishable and prepared food from businesses such as restaurants, caterers, and corporate cafeterias and deliver it directly to organizations that feed the homeless. We appreciate this group’s continued support of our shelter throughout the years!
This year’s Wish Book story from Samaritan House features dental patient, Ronaldo, who came to our clinic from by way of our Safe Harbor Shelter. Ronaldo, who is currently uninsured, was seen at the San Mateo Clinic for help maintaining his diabetes, dental work, and for a referral to surgically treat the cataracts which previously rendered him unable to work and to see.
Your donation to Samaritan House helps individuals like Ronaldo receive the medical & dental treatment needed to live a full and healthy life. Read his story in the Wish Book and please consider a donation to help patients like Ronaldo at both of our free clinics:
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.
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.
According to a report by Santa Clara University’s Leavey School of Business and Second Harvest Food Bank, 1 in 4 individuals in San Mateo County is at-risk for hunger. This figure is higher than the national average of 1 in 6. (San Mateo County Hunger Index).
Our dining room located in downtown San Mateo is our attempt to address the missing meals that confront families in our area. In this video, our Dining Hall Manager, Mario Cousenes, talks about who visits our dining hall and what this service means to the individuals he sees every week.
Your donations make a difference! A contribution of $100 will provide 35 meals for families in need at our dining room. Make your secure online donation today.
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!
Continuing the school’s long-standing tradition of promoting community service and creating opportunities for student leadership, San Mateo High School (SMHS) will be conducting its annual food drive to benefit Samaritan House and Second Harvest Food Bank from November 16th – December 3rd, 2012.
The student’s canned food drive set a Guinness World Record in previous years, and this year student organizers are hoping to meet or surpass the school’s previous performances.
The students at SMHS exhibit tremendous energy and enthusiasm for the donation drive they take part in each year. Talking with Leadership Teacher and Activities Director Sara Catalli, it becomes apparent just how much this donation drive means to the students. Sara talks about how many of them spend long hours in front of grocery stores collecting food from shoppers. It’s amazing to realize that SMHS collects literally tons of food in just two weeks.
Here at Samaritan House, the SMHS Canned Food Drive represents an extremely important part of our holiday food program. Each year during the holiday season, we distribute approximately 400,000 pounds of food to our clients and the community. Without the efforts and generosity of both individual donations and wonderful organizations like SMHS conducting these massive donation drives, we would not be able to provide the level of service that we do.
If you are interested in donating to and voicing your support for SMHS’s student-driven cause, you can bring your canned or non-perishable food or monetary donation directly to San Mateo High School (located at 506 N. Delaware Street, San Mateo, weekdays from 7:45 am -3:15 pm). Monetary donations are tax-deductible and checks should be made out to “Samaritan House.”
Weekdays after 5pm and weekends, students will be collecting donations at local supermarkets throughout the Peninsula – from San Bruno to Palo Alto. For more information about ways to donate in-person or online, contact San Mateo High School’s Community Service Commissioners at email@example.com.