Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thankful For All Of You

I have a practice of writing at least one thing that I am grateful for each day in my journal each day.  With Thanksgiving coming up day after tomorrow, I'd like to share some SF CARES specific gratitude with you all.

Today I am greatful for all the volunteers that have allowed SF CARES and all our collaborators to do our work this year.  I’m grateful for the forty some odd folks who have served as Crises Line Counselors for the Night Ministry, taking calls from the lonely and the desperate every single night of the year.  I’m grateful for the churches that make lunch to serve after Open Cathedral.  I’m grateful for the many many folks who’ve come out to the Free Farm to plant, water, weed, harvest, and fertilize and especially to the dedicated core group who make lunch for each Wednesday and Saturday workday.  I’m grateful to the many churches and volunteer groups who have come to Old First Presbyterian on a second or fourth Saturday to set up, serve, and clean up after the Community Dinner we feed to 200-300 people on those nights and especially grateful for those who come early to bring ingredients and cook the meal.  (One dedicated pair cooks every single second Saturday and we have several groups who trade off to cover most fourth Saturdays.)  I’m grateful, too, for the folks who come each week to serve the smaller Tuesday afternoon meal and chat with our guests.  I’m grateful for the groups who buy groceries and cook for the Friendship Banquet we serve to folks living with HIV and AIDS each Tuesday.  I’m grateful for all the folks who have come out for a street retreat, or one of the many other opportunities to learn offered by the Faithful Fools.  I am grateful for all of the wonderful donors to all of our collaborators and the few SF CARES itself has attracted that, along with our volunteers, allow us to continue our work.  I’m grateful for all the socks and blankets and toiletries we’ve been able to hand out because so many good folks donated them to us.
We can always use funds and volunteers for all of our programs,(not to mention socks), but today I’m not going to ask you for anything.  Today I just want to say, ‘THANK YOU! and wish you all a blessed Thanksgiving.  May you each have much to be grateful for in the coming year.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Blankets, Toiletries, Socks

The short version: 

We are very much in need of blankets, toiletries, and socks.  Demand is high and our supplies are low.  You can help.  The last two paragraphs of this post tell you how.

Some of last year's bounty, long since handed out.
 The slightly longer version:

Imagine going without soap, without toothpaste, without shampoo.  This is the reality faced by many of the folks we serve.  We can really use sample sizes of toothpaste, dental floss, shampoo, conditioner, soap, and lotion.  Small sizes are best so they are easy to carry for folks living outside.  We can hand out 50 or more hygiene kits with these items at one Community Dinner with no problem.  So if you have little bottles left from your last hotel visit, if you have those novelty soap bars someone gave you last Christmas and you still haven’t used, if you feel moved to go on a shopping spree at your local dollar store or the sample aisle at the drug store, we will gladly take all the toiletries you can offer us.  One enterprising friend asked her dentist for samples and gave us over 50 tubes of toothpaste and packages of dental floss.  Maybe you dentist has samples they’d like to be rid of, too.

Imagine how your feet would feel if you were stuck in the same pair of socks day after day.  For folks living outside, clean dry socks are gold.  When one has no place to wash them, socks become disposable items.  Combined with walking many miles each day to access services and often being stuck with ill fitting shoes, the lack of clean socks contributes substantially is damaging to people's feet.  Would your church or organization like to have a sock drive for us?  Would you be willing to contribute a package or two?  We’re especially interested in white athletic socks as they hold up best.  There is no such thing as too many socks.  There is no shortage of people grateful to have them.

And it’s getting much colder now.  Especially at night.  As with socks, blankets get dirty quickly when one has no place to wash them, and stay soggy when one has no place to dry them after a damp night on San Francisco’s streets.  Imagine sleeping outside with nothing but a soggy blanket to keep you warm.  Do you have a spare sleeping bag you haven’t used in years?  Have any blankets that have been sitting in the linen closet unused?  Care to organize a blanket drive at your church or other organization?  We can take all the blankets you can give. 

You can drop any of these items off at 950 McAllister St., (between Laguna and Webster) Monday through Thursday during business hours.  Items can also be dropped off at the Faithful Fools at 234 Hyde (between Eddy and Turk), just call 415-474-0508 or email fools@faithfulfools.org to arrange a drop off time.

If you organize a drive and would like us to pick up what you collect, we are happy to do that in San Francisco, the Peninsula, or anywhere within fifteen minutes driving of the Bay Bridge or Golden Gate Bridge.   Just drop us a line at sfcares@saintpaulus.org or call us at 415-673-3572 and we’ll work out the details.