Many Peninsula residents have sought the assistance of a local nonprofit at one point or another, obtaining everything from academic or after-school support for their child and vital health care to food and housing help.
Now, facing an overwhelming demand for services spurred by the coronavirus pandemic combined with operation limitations due to the health crisis, these organizations need you to step in.
Almanac readers have given generously to our annual Holiday Fund in years past, with support from foundations combining to raise over $150,000 last year. Though many people face strained financial circumstances due to the pandemic, we hope those who can will support these nonprofits so they can do as much as possible to help local families and individuals now and long after the pandemic subsides.
Since The Almanac and its Holiday Fund partner the Silicon Valley Community Foundation cover all the administrative costs of the initiative, every dollar raised goes directly to this year's 10 nonprofit beneficiaries. In addition to individual tax-deductible donations, the fund this year is being supported through matching grants from Rotary Club of Menlo Park, The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation so that every donation is effectively doubled.
This year's beneficiaries are:
Boys & Girls Club of the Peninsula: With locations in Menlo Park, East Palo Alto and the North Fair Oaks neighborhood in Redwood City, this organization provides academic and after-school support, enrichment, mentoring and activities for low-income K-12 kids. To support students with distance learning, the Boys and Girls Club is now providing them with a safe, in-person working space for online learning that is walking distance from home, at their clubhouses or school sites.
Ecumenical Hunger Program: EHP provides emergency food, clothing and household essentials, and sometimes financial assistance, to families, regardless of religious background. At Thanksgiving and Christmas, the program provides baskets to more than 2,000 households. Because of public health mandates, the 45-year-old nonprofit cannot bring in volunteers to help, and it has temporarily closed all services except for essential food programs.
LifeMoves: With sites on the Peninsula and throughout Silicon Valley, this program serves thousands of homeless people annually, including families. It offers one-on-one counseling, assistance in securing housing, children's programs and training in comprehensive skills so that its clients can achieve self-sufficiency.
Health Connected: An East Palo Alto-based nonprofit, Health Connected serves more than 15,000 students and their families in the state through its comprehensive sexual health education programs. Its mission is to "equip young people with information, skills, and support to make thoughtful choices about their relationships and sexual health throughout their lives," according to the organization's website.
Literacy Partners - Menlo Park: Literacy Partners was established to promote and facilitate literacy in Menlo Park and surrounding areas, according to its website. Its goal is to support Project Read - Menlo Park, which offers free literacy services to local adults. It trains volunteers to work one-on-one with students wishing to improve their basic reading, writing and English language skills so they can achieve their goals and function more effectively at home, at work, and in the community. It also sponsors basic English classes and weekly conversation clubs.
Ravenswood Family Health Center: The center provides primary medical and preventive health care at a clinic in East Palo Alto. Most of the center's registered patients, who number more than 17,000, are low-income and uninsured, and live in the Belle Haven, East Palo Alto and North Fair Oaks areas.
St. Anthony's Padua Dining Room: St. Anthony's, the largest dining room for the needy between San Francisco and San Jose, serves hundreds of hot meals six days a week. It also offers take-home bags of food, and emergency food and clothing assistance.
St. Francis Center: Beginning in 1986, the St. Francis Center began providing food, clothing, and other essential services for low-income families out of a small house in the Fair Oaks neighborhood. In addition to these services it continues to provide those who live and work in Redwood City, the organization now includes the 10,000-square-foot St. Francis Center, Siena Youth Center, Holy Family School, and eight apartment buildings for low-income families.
Upward Scholars: This program, formerly the Sequoia Adult School Scholars, provides financial support, tutoring, textbooks and other assistance to local low-income adults, allowing them to continue their education, improve their workplace prospects, and serve as role models and advocates for their kids.
StarVista: StarVista serves more than 41,000 people in San Mateo County with counseling, prevention, early intervention, education and residential programs. It also provides crisis intervention and suicide prevention services, including a 24-hour suicide crisis hotline, a parent support hotline, and an alcohol and drug helpline.