In honor of the 20 anniversary of Giving Tuesday, we spotlight three agencies that help uplift the San Francisco Bay Area!
To spread joy and kindness, we have to make strong connections rooted in solid foundations — also two vital elements in building a bridge. On this Giving Tuesday, we wanted to introduce you to three Bay Area agencies that are part of the bedrock of our community. Each provides stable resources for our vulnerable populations to help them move towards healthier, happier lives.
In October, we hosted Dish SF, Hope Services, and The City of San Pablo for a Tree Talk, a round table discussion to get some insights about their work and how we can uplift the populations they serve. Individual Giving Officer Amelia Johnson-Capsuto, and our Major Gifts Officer Dena Vongchanh facilitated this lively discussion.
Let’s hear a few highlights from the event!
DISH SF - Holiday Gifts Help Light Up “The Inner Kid” Inside Residents
DISH SF believes that everyone deserves a home.
Every day, they provide high-quality, permanent housing to San Franciscans who suffer from serious health issues. With our help, they can get off the streets, rebuild their lives, and strengthen our communities.
Director Lauren Hall founded Dish SF in 2006 with fellow Director Doug Gary. Initially started as a property management service for San Francisco’s Direct to Access Housing Program, it grew to something more impactful. DISH SF seeks to eradicate homelessness through a housing first, harm reduction philosophy, so people can get a roof over their heads before having to go through a bunch of hoops. In Lauren’s words: “If someone who struggles with substance abuse, or struggles with an unmedicated mental health issue, or generally has health concerns, we want to bring people indoors and build a package of services around them.”
To achieve this, DISH partners with onsite service providers throughout the county and with other local nonprofits, such as Family Giving Tree, which offer resources through their community development program for their clients. One priority is to “have people really feel seen and valued because so many people who have experienced life on the streets have lost that feeling of self-worth.” explained Lauren. “They’ve been living in such an undignified setting for so long. We find people shut down, and many people are using substances to self-medicate from the trauma…We try and get people engaged and reduce the amount of self-harm in their lives.”
How does Family Giving Tree’s Holiday Wish Drive factor uplift these San Francisco residents in their journey towards healing and recovery? Listen to Lauren’s story:
Learn more about DISH SF’s mission and how you can get involved here.
HOPE Services: Granting the Wishes of Children and Families Living with Disabilities
The Hope Services story started over 60 years ago when 12 children with developmental disabilities walked through the door of a one-room schoolhouse in San Jose. That day the children entered a new world where they could find support, receive an education, and make friends.
The founding families of what later grew to be Hope Services left a lasting legacy that reflects the simple philosophy that has guided the mission of Hope: to improve the quality of life for individuals with developmental disabilities and mental health needs, as measured by eight indicators: personal development, self-determination, interpersonal relations, social inclusion, rights, emotional well-being, physical well-being, and material well-being.
The extra weight of financial obstacles due to stretched resources, and mounting medical bills from raising a child with developmental delays or disabilities can be a source of stress for the families Hope serves.
Director Vickey Perkins gave us a little insight into the challenges Hope families face during the holidays. Hear how the Holiday Wish Drive helps build bridges to joy for parents of young children receiving care through their organization:
To learn more about Hope Services and their mission click here.
City of San Pablo: Bringing JOY to Seniors During a Time of Year that Can be Lonely for Some
The senior population can often find themselves vulnerable to the challenges of social isolation, inadequate care, difficulty performing daily activities, and food and housing insecurity. San Pablo aims to enhance the quality of life for their community’s senior citizens through recreational and educational activities, special events, and services focused on nutritional, transportation, and social needs.
When we uplift seniors in our community, their well-being is supported by fostering social interaction through activities and volunteerism. The importance of connection and the impact of small gestures were most apparent when the city was still in lockdown and not offering in-person services at the Senior Center.
Joanna Pulido, Community Services Supervisor for the city, shared an instance that opened her eyes to how powerful receiving a wished-for gift was for seniors facing isolation. She described the moment she delivered a gift, along with other full-time employees during the height of the pandemic. “One senior looked at me and was like, “WOW, You guys didn’t forget about me!”” Joanna felt sadness realizing that the woman, who lived on her own without any family nearby, had been experiencing loneliness, especially as she mournfully inquired about when the senior center would open again. Nevertheless, the visit and gift— a beautiful scarf that she absolutely loved — served as a poignant assurance to this senior neighbor. “At that moment she knew she wasn’t alone,” Joanna recollected. “She promised to wear it at the next event she attended.”
In a full-circle moment of connection and joy, the woman made good on her promise and wore her scarf the next time she was able to reunite with her friends at the San Pablo senior center, recognizing and thanking Joanna as the person who delivered it to her. This was a reminder to Community Service Department staff that the little things can make a big difference. “A lot of times we get wrapped up on the bigger picture when sometimes the small things are what really kind of matter,” she concluded.
We agree! Those small gestures of kindness add up to big joy and are what make our days lighter even in the darker times.
Listen to City of San Pablo’s Community Services Coordinator Zee Deleon share how the Holiday Wish Drive makes a difference in senior’s lives in the San Pablo community:
Thank you to all our partner agencies for the work you do building bridges to hope, joy, and paving a path in kindness toward a brighter future for Bay Area residents!
Can you help us build bridges to holiday joy for the families our agencies serve? Consider Donating today to sponsor a gift for a family, child, or senior in our community: